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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1771..


superannuation bill for the government of the day would have reached $350 million in today's dollars.

That is almost half the health budget.

What would I-long-since retired, sitting in my rocking chair, watching the bankrupt Treasurer of 2020 deliver a morsel here and a morsel there to a clamouring community-have told my grandchildren about why their property rates had just gone up by 300 per cent?

Mr Speaker, instead of leaving the decision on superannuation to a future government, on another day, this government has chosen to do the right thing for the Canberrans of the future.

In fact, by acting now and by aggressively ensuring that we make provision for future superannuation liabilities, as well as for current ones, I am able to announce that we have been able to bring back the expected date by which our superannuation liability will be fully funded to 2030.

Even if the public servants of 2006 do not thank this government, their children and grandchildren will.

Health

Mr Speaker, there is no question that health is the single most important service area for any government-the most costly and the one that has the most devastating consequences if it is neglected.

At the same time, it is an area of the budget that must be managed. This is perhaps the only area of government expenditure where demand could be truly said to be insatiable.

We must allow for growth in our health spending, but we must also contain that growth. Put simply, the growth rates of recent years-over 10 per cent a year-cannot be sustained. Unchecked, they would see health expenditure consume more than 50 per cent of the total general government expenditure by the end of the next decade.

This budget provides significant additional funding for health-$41.7 million in 2006-07, $51.7 million in 2007-08, $69.7 million in 2008-09, rising to $114.2 million in 2009-10.

But this new investment must be directed well and carefully. It must go to where it is most needed. Our attitude to health, like our attitudes to many other areas of government expenditure, must change.

The cost of our hospitals has been well above the national benchmark since self-government. This budget sets efficiency targets that will see the cost per separation being brought to within 10 per cent of the benchmark over the next five years.

Funding to some areas of significant demand pressure will continue to grow at high rates.


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