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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 544..

Questions without notice


MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Minister, in question time yesterday, I asked you why the sentinel rate of events in the ACT, at 2.7 events per 100,000, is so much higher than the rate of New South Wales at 0.46 and Victoria at 0.6. In your reply you claimed that:

It is simply not believable to say there have been only 30 sentinel events in a health system that serves a population of approximately six million. It is simply not believable. We do not accept the level of reporting that occurs in New South Wales.

However, the figure of 31 sentinel events for New South Wales and 30 for Victoria is reported in the Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services 2006. Minister, are you claiming that New South Wales and Victoria have deliberately provided misleading information to the Productivity Commission? What evidence do you have to back this claim? Will you table that evidence in the Assembly today?

MR CORBELL: No, I am not claiming that the New South Wales and Victorian governments have in any way sought to deliberately mislead anyone. All I am saying is that the advice I have from my department is that the reporting arrangements in place to monitor sentinel events in public hospital systems in New South Wales and Victoria are not as comprehensive as the arrangements we have in place in the ACT, and that there is a significant level of underreporting in those two jurisdictions.

But I am not attributing any deliberate action on the part of the New South Wales and Victorian governments in this regard-just simply a failure of their systems to adequately monitor the overall level of sentinel events.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, when will you concede that we have a high rate of sentinel events in the ACT and unsafe, overcrowded hospitals because of the failure of your government's health reforms?

MR CORBELL: I will not concede that, because it is not true.

Focus on business convention

MS PORTER: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to the minister for economic development, Mr Quinlan. Can the minister update the Assembly on the progress for Canberra's 2006 focus on business convention?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Ms Porter. Let me say that the focus on business convention has grown to become Canberra's top business convention. It has really matured into a well-respected, well-attended event. It really has been built up by this government from its small beginning to a truly substantial event that attracts international attendance.

I am pleased to announce today that this year's focus on business convention will be attended by Mr Michael Ahern TD, the Irish minister for commerce and industry, who

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