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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 3131..

Questions without notice

Canberra Hospital-incentive arrangements

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Health. Earlier this month, a well-known Canberra specialist sent Mr Corbell a letter concerning incentive payments that the Canberra Hospital was making. The letter concerned allegations that the hospital is co-paying contracted private doctors up to the AMA scheduled fee if the doctors take private patients at Canberra's major public hospital. The doctor sought confirmation as to whether these rumours from sources were correct.

The opposition has also heard similar information from credible sources. Can the minister confirm whether the Canberra Hospital is offering incentives to specialists to book private patients at the Canberra Hospital? If so, how many private patients have been booked at the Canberra Hospital under these incentives?

MR WOOD: I have not seen that letter and I have not had a briefing on that issue. I undertake to find out the situation and get back to the minister with that information and any information in relation to his supplementary.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. The minister might also take on notice the question as to why the Canberra Hospital is paying-if it is found to be true-incentives to doctors to bring private patients to Canberra Hospital.

MR WOOD: Okay.

Capital works

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, My question is to the Treasurer. Earlier this week, you tabled the report on capital works activity to the end of the March quarter this year. This report confirms that the government has failed to achieve its capital works spending target for the first nine months of this year by an astonishing $45 million, or 26 per cent of the revised capital works budget. This is more evidence that Labor cannot manage projects, or anything else.

There is one particularly disturbing component of this report. It concerns infrastructure augmentation in the Department of Urban Services. At the start of 2003-2004, there was $391,000 of work in progress in infrastructure projects. At the end of March, only nine months later, this budget was reduced by nearly $1.2 million-that is, this part of the budget is now negative, to the tune of $760,000. Can you explain this variation? How is it possible to have a negative value for work in progress, and what does this mean for the projects that were intended to be funded in this capital works budget?

MR QUINLAN: In the short term, Mr Stefaniak, no, I cannot explain it. I will have a look to see whether there was an arithmetic error in previous reports.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, when you are looking at that, will you look to answer this question too: when will the projects that you appear to have slashed so savagely be resurrected to the capital works budget?

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