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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1633..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

since it was elected in October 2001. That is this government's record, and it is a strong record. For Mr Smyth to claim otherwise is simply to perpetuate a hoax on the Canberra community.

Mr Speaker, the federal government's offer provides nationally $1 billion less for public hospitals than the federal government put into their own forward estimates. That is what we are being asked to swallow. Well, it is not good enough to reduce public hospital expenditure nationwide by a billion dollars and expect the states and territories to cop it.

Mr Smyth is so desperate to protect his own minister federally that he is attempting in a puny and pathetic way to put pressure on this government to sign up to what is a poor deal for the ACT. It is a poor deal for the ACT because it does nothing to improve GP services. There is no specific assistance to improve GP services in the

ACT, no specific assistance to improve bulk billing in the ACT and no specific assistance to improve aged care bed facilitation in the ACT.

Without those things being addressed, this will be a poor deal for the ACT. It will not reduce pressure on our public hospitals. We need those issues to be addressed and that will be the approach I will be adopting in my negotiations with the federal minister.

MR SMYTH: Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. To justify his figures, will the minister table the advice that he has received from the department?

MR CORBELL: Perhaps you will have to FOI it for him. You have FOIed everything else.

Homelessness

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the minister for housing. Minister, the Canberra Chronicle raised in its previous two editions the serious issue of homelessness in the ACT. In these articles, the Chronicle alleged that there are 1,500 people in the ACT that are homeless. The ACT Poverty Task Group, the government's Needs analysis of homelessness in the ACT and the recent standing committee report, Accommodation and support services for homeless men and their children, also highlighted the issue of homelessness.

Surely, Minister, the time for analysis, review and report is over. What concrete action is the government taking to address this most serious issue?

MR WOOD: Quite a deal. It is a timely question-especially as I heard the question earlier today: what am I going to do? What I am going to do is move to address the neglect of earlier years. Homelessness is a problem. It has been identified that up to 1,500 people are homeless. That means they do not have a home that they own, have a lease to or are able to live in. They might be bedding down with relatives or friends; couch-hopping-or whatever the word is-or sleeping rough.

It is a significant problem. It has been identified in all the reports that have been done, and we are doing something about it. We have many years of neglect to make up for, and we are taking steps to do that. In yesterday's budget, you heard Mr Quinlan


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