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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 September 2006) . . Page.. 2860 ..

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Stefaniak. I would be hopeful that we could certainly see some big improvements within the first half of this year, if not throughout the year. It is a particular group of patients that we are looking at managing, and there are not great numbers of them. There are hundreds of patients rather than thousands. There may be reasons why—one reason or another, including patient-initiated reasons—they have not had their surgery and why they are still on the waiting list. We will explore that. We are talking about those who are there, ready to have their surgery, who have been waiting a long time. I know there are some category 2 patients who have been waiting a substantial amount of time but I think there are only about 70 of them.

This is why I have announced these measures—to keep the community informed. There is a very small group of patients on the waiting list who have just been waiting too long. We have seen very big improvements for almost every other patient outside of that category. We need to work harder with this particular group of patients. I am confident that if we look at this group specifically, take them out and implement some measures to deal with them, we will see improvements for those people and they will get access to their surgery as soon as they can.

Canberra—quality of life

MS PORTER: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, could you please inform the Assembly of the findings of the Australian Bureau of Statistics released last week in its Australian Capital Territory in Focus publication? Does the ABS data confirm what those of us on this side of the chamber already know to be true—that Canberra is a great place to live?

MR STANHOPE: It is timely that we stop, take a breath, and reflect about Canberra and the great place that it is. We are all aware of how fantastic Canberra is.

Mr Stefaniak: It was.

Mr Smyth: It used to be. Watch that pothole!

MR STANHOPE: Indeed, I was about to respond that it is not necessary to restrict the knowledge or the confirmation around what a great place that Canberra is to live to this side of the chamber. It is something we know to be true. I was going to graciously suggest that it is what everybody in this place knows to be true, until I overheard the interjections from those in the Liberal Party, who continue to willingly talk Canberra down.

It is a pity that in this place we do not have bipartisan support for the view that Canberra is the most wonderful place in Australia. And it is. There is certainly nobody—I was going to say “in this chamber”—that would dispute that. I will now adopt your language, Ms Porter: there is nobody on this side of the chamber that disputes for one minute that Canberra is the most wonderful city and the most wonderful community in Australia in which to live. It certainly is moot in the context of an assault on Canberra reported just today by some institute or other and constant assaults on Canberra by media particularly around Australia.

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