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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3213..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

I am sure that Ms MacDonald will have an answer to all of this. I am sure she will scurry away at lunchtime and read the annual reports. I cannot wait to hear the answer as to how she justifies "continuing commitment"being a nine per cent reduction in training in real terms, a 14 per cent reduction in hours allowed, a 43 per cent reduction in attendance by staff and a 30 per cent reduction in the amount of money that is spent inside the health department budget in terms of moneys for staff attendances at training sessions.

On the other hand, we need to compare this commitment to the federal government initiatives that have seen enormous increases to the ACT budget in funding under the Australian health care agreement. In 2003-04 the ACT received $98 million; it received $104 million in 2004-05, $107 million in 2005-06 and $115 million in 2006-07; and it will receive $118 million in 2007-08. The total amount over those five years is $544 million. So you can see that under the 2003-08 Australian health care agreement the Australian government has provided significant additional funding to the ACT. It is a shame that over that period the Stanhope Labor government has reduced the spending on health training inside the department, particularly inside the hospitals.

Ms MacDonald spoke about some of the specialties. It is quite interesting to compare the mental health figures. In 2004-05, 429 staff attended education and training sessions in respect of mental health. In 2005-06 the number had dropped to 331-429 down to 331. The sessional salary cost in 2004-05 was $46,000 but the actual cost had risen to $51,000. So what we are not doing is keeping abreast of the costs of these training courses. I could give more examples but I have run out of time. However, it is quite clear that what Ms MacDonald has put forward is inaccurate and incorrect, and she should correct the record.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2.30 pm

Questions without notice

QEII site-sale

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Planning and it relates to the sale of the QEII site in the city. Minister, yesterday you categorically ruled out that the QEII site had been sold. Will you also categorically rule out that no deal or arrangement has been entered into with a particular developer regarding this site?

MR CORBELL: Mr Seselja asked me the same question yesterday and I have answered that question.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, why do you continue to avoid answering this question?

Mr Seselja: You haven't answered it, Simon. You didn't answer it yesterday and you haven't answered it today. What are you hiding? Why won't you answer it?

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