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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 30 June 2005 2005) . . Page.. 2527 ..


do it—than the national average and much more money that almost every other jurisdiction except the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory and Western Australia are spending much more money, but they have the tyranny of distance that we do not have. We have the most compact, healthy population, with high education standards and high levels of individual health and participation in sport, all of these sorts of things, and we have a much younger population, but the expenditure on health is blowing out. What do we have by way of comparison? The ACT spends $745 per head of population on health. The national average is $552. Victoria, which is actually topping the list all the way across the board and which does have some problems with tyranny of distance but only a small problem by comparison, spends $518.

Perhaps during the last break, instead of swanning around the world looking at garden cities, the Minister for Health could have gone to Victoria to find out what it does to keep its budget down, what it is doing for the princely sum of $518 to come up with much better health outcomes than we are having. All the way through Mr Mulcahy’s speech, Mr Corbell interjected, “If you put more people through the operating theatres after 4 o’clock, it will cost money. Where are you going to get the money from?” From your overspending, Mr Corbell.

Mr Corbell: Where?

MRS DUNNE: From the $200 above national average spending, that is where it would come from. If the minister cared about the system and were really committed to the people of the ACT, he would be doing everything he could, he would be busting a boiler, to get his spending down to the national average. Instead, what is he doing? We heard him on the radio this morning saying to Ross Solly, “What we are doing is we are trying to shift as many New South Wales people out of the system as we possibly can.”

That contradicts what he has been saying. He is going to set up a gate at the border to make sure that no-one from New South Wales comes into the ACT; so we will cease to provide a service to the region. Everything that Simon Corbell, the Minister for Health, has been saying for two years has been debunked. He has said, “We have been pushing more people through.” If he has, he has not reported it in a way that Tony Abbott can report on. There must be a parallel universe somewhere at the Canberra Hospital, where these people who are being pushed through at ever increasing rates are being treated, because it is not coming up in the health statistics.

We know that it cannot possibly come up in the health statistics and that we cannot possibly be pushing more people through because last financial year he closed Calvary’s operating theatres for 13 weeks. For 13 weeks they were not operating. We have constant problems with Calvary’s incapacity to provide services to people who need them and we have the orthopaedic surgeons saying that by the time they get to April of every year they have to stop operating. They lose their crack orthopaedic teams as they have to go somewhere else because they can no longer provide services as there is no money.

What does that mean for the people who are waiting for hip replacements? You are not going to die for want of a hip replacement, but I can tell you from the people I know who are waiting for hip replacements or who have needed hip replacements that the position


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