Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1765 ..
MR CORBELL: We are not cutting patient and health services. But I am happy to take the details of the question on notice and provide an answer to Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. I assume that the minister will have to take this one on notice as well. Why are children and youth mental health services being reduced from 28,660 in 2004-05 to 24,300 in 2005-06—a cut of 15 per cent?
MR CORBELL: Again, the government is not cutting the provision of services in mental health. The revision of the targets is probably due to a number of reasons, but it is certainly not due to a decision to reduce the overall level of service. I will take the detail of the question on notice and provide an answer to Mr Smyth.
Hospital waiting lists
MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. Yesterday, the ACT budget for 2005-2006 was released, with a record total overall spend of $689.9 million on health, the highest amount the territory has ever allocated. Minister, within this record spend, how is the government committed to improving elective surgery waiting times and providing more beds in hospitals?
Mr Mulcahy: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: this matter is the subject of inquiry before the Public Accounts Committee. I ask that you rule it out of order.
Ms MacDonald: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: I asked a question with relation to the overall spending, not in relation to the Auditor-General’s report No 8.
MR SPEAKER: The question was in relation to hospital waiting lists. The question, in my view, is legitimate and is a matter that the minister can respond to.
MR CORBELL: In relation to Mr Mulcahy’s point of order: Mr Smyth’s question would have been out of order as well. I do not think anyone is seriously suggesting that in this place you cannot ask ministers questions about the budget. If you do not want to ask questions about the budget, that is fine; we will get on with other business.
Mr Speaker, it was very interesting to hear the assertion made by Mr Mulcahy at the budget breakfast this morning, broadcast on ABC radio, where he claimed that the ACT government was spending too much on health—about $100 million too much on health.
Mr Pratt: That’s a lie.
MR CORBELL: I ask Mr Pratt to withdraw that.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, withdraw that.
Mr Pratt: I withdraw that.
MR CORBELL: That is what Mr Mulcahy asserted. The government is spending a record amount on health, $689.9 million on health. The strength of that budget and this