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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1845..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

been met in this year's budget. Unfortunately, you are trying to make a bad story out of something good, and you cannot do it.

Health-staff cuts

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, in delivering the 2006-07 ACT budget, your government announced a massive cut to jobs in the ACT; in particular, 82 jobs in health. Where in health will these job cuts be made and when will these job cuts occur?

MS GALLAGHER: That work will be done through the implementation of the decisions taken by cabinet. There will not be a cut of 82 staff in health because of other initiatives which will require employment in health. It will not be at the service delivery end. It will be looking at areas where we can streamline our costs-middle management, administration and overhead staff costs. I am sure that you will support all of the work which is being done.

We have a situation where we are currently providing services at 20 per cent above the national standard or the national price. We are going to try to bring that back to 10 per cent over the next five years. You can easily do the maths around that. We will be removing areas through efficiencies, mainly through administration and middle management. That work is starting. I reject your figure of 82 because, at the end of the day, there will be a number of initiatives, if you work through the budget papers, that will require employment. It will not be through cuts to any services. You can see that through the budget in terms of the targets we are setting and the initiatives which relate to increasing amounts of service delivery.

MR PRATT: Minister, as there will be a planned reduction of jobs in your department, as you say, in the middle and back end of service, how will you ensure that there will be no reduction in the delivery of health services to the ACT community? Are front-line positions not being cut?

Mr Corbell: I think that she just answered that.

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, I have answered that. We have made clear through our initiatives that we want to see increases in service delivery areas, and money is being provided for that, but we are looking at running the most efficient health system that we possibly can, and that involves having a look at all areas of the functions that support the service delivery areas. I think that is an entirely responsible thing to do. No doubt, after listening to Mr Mulcahy on some of the bandwagons he gets on about efficiencies and savings, it is something that the Liberal opposition will not only support but also endorse.

Hospitals-waiting lists

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to Ms Gallagher in her capacity as Minister for Health. Much has been said in recent times about elective surgery waiting lists and load sharing. Minister, could you update the Assembly on the performance of the ACT's health system?

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