Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 2877..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
Five dollars for 24 hour parking is a very low cost for parking. We can look at car parking in hospitals across Australia. Last year, when I was visiting a hospital in Sydney, it cost upwards of $20 a day to get access to a car park. We have implemented a very low cost scheme at Canberra hospitals. It will provide a great deal of resources to the hospitals, and I will be transparent about how we report that to the community.
For $5 you can park your car at a hospital for 24 hours. I think it is a reasonable scheme. It has been negotiated extensively over the past 12 months. In fact, it was actually in last year's budget that this decision was taken, not this year's budget, although the estimates committee decided to view it anyway. I think we have done everything we can. We will monitor the arrangements. I am still taking feedback from people. For the large part, we have instigated a scheme at the hospitals that is as fair as it can be, whilst acknowledging that what we are doing is raising money for the health system.
MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Ms Gallagher in her capacity as the Minister for Health. Minister, the opposition constantly claims that the government has "chucked"money at health and not delivered outcomes. Can you please inform the Assembly of the investment the ACT government has made in health and improved areas of service delivery.
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. The ACT has perhaps one of the best health systems in the world. That is my view. I do not think anyone in this place, despite what is said by those opposite, would choose not to go to the Canberra Hospital or any part of our health system if they were ill and in need. The opposition should really stop talking down the health system because it is a good health system. It is strong and it responds to demands in a climate of increasing pressure. I acknowledge that we have such a health system because of the efforts and the professionalism of staff across the health portfolio—I am talking about the community sector as well—in providing services to the people of the ACT. Governments can provide the resourcing but we are in this position because of the skill and the professionalism of the people within the health sector who are providing these excellent services.
As members would know, the budget this year for health is over three-quarters of a billion dollars and it is delivering results. In fact, members who are interested can access a whole range of information, which we report quarterly to the community, about the state of the health system.
Mr Smyth: It used to report monthly.
MS GALLAGHER: If you look at the information you will see that it does not just give you the waiting list information, which is all that Mr Smyth wants, or the bypass information—which, for the record of the Assembly, is six hours for the month of September—but it provides a whole range of information that should be and is of interest to the community. It refers to the two things that the Liberals constantly look at and constantly talk about and also provides a very good analysis of areas of demand within the health system. It talks about access to services; safety for patients, which is something the community is very interested in; the efficiency and effectiveness of the