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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1153..


MR STANHOPE: Two a year. There are currently under construction or in the pipeline in the ACT 900 beds and 900 independent living units; 600 have just been approved by the government. The Leader of the Opposition at least did have the good grace, one might call it, to acknowledge that these are essentially issues for the commonwealth in the context that the provision of beds and payment for beds is entirely the responsibility of the commonwealth. The biggest issue that the ACT has faced, in fact, has been a lack of provision of appropriate beds to meet the ageing of the ACT population. Never forget, and it is often distorted in relation to the provision of aged care beds, that that is wholly and solely the responsibility of the commonwealth.

The ACT government now has in place a regime and a scheme that ensure that there is a significant development-ready land band for aged care facilities. We currently have in place arrangements for the construction of 900 beds and 900 independent living units. We now have the capacity to work, on the basis of the announcements made, on 200 beds a year on average over the next three years, an absolutely fantastic result for the ACT. I think that it is, essentially, belated acknowledged by the commonwealth that it has been very tardy in the provision of beds for the ACT.

In the context of that and the griping acknowledgment or lack of acknowledgment of the fact that we have seamless arrangements in place in the ACT through both the planning process and the provision of land, ensuring development-ready land is available for aged care facilities, the Liberal government, the Brendan Smyth government, delivered, as my colleague just cleverly determined—

Mr Smyth: Weren't you quick enough to work it out?

MR STANHOPE: I must say that it had not occurred to me. It had not occurred to me to look at it in the context of two beds a year. I have previously made the point that the Liberal government, over seven years of government, delivered 14 beds, a nice round figure. To break that down, to bore down to exactly and precisely what that means, two beds a year were delivered by Brendan Smyth as the then minister. Two beds a year. I do not know how the Leader of the Opposition actually has the temerity to stand up in this place, with that sort of history, and labour the point on this government's performance in relation to the provision of aged care beds.

Two beds a year is the Liberal Party's record in relation to aged care bed provision. Two beds a year! Can you imagine that? Two beds a year in the most rapidly ageing population in Australia. And what do we have now? We have 900 beds in the pipeline, a land band development-ready, streamlined processes and close work with ACTPLA. The difference in the commitment and the record of this government as opposed to the rest is incredibly stark and there for the world to see.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.18), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to this debate. As Ms Gallagher and other speakers have outlined, there is growing pressure on our community because of the rapid ageing of our population, which is in turn placing added strain on ACT families and individuals, especially when family members become frail and aged and in need of care.


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