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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3607 ..

would like to hear from the government whether or not it is going to go ahead with legislation for sustainability, but I expect to hear that announcement in due course.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Public Hospital Board Bill 2007

Debate resumed from 17 October 2007, on motion by Mrs Burke:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (11.54): The government will be opposing this bill. The proposed establishment of a hospital board as a solution to the perceived litany of problems in the health system as identified by Mrs Burke shows great naivety and narrowness on Mrs Burke’s part.

In the first place Mrs Burke makes the assumption that the ACT health system is broken and then moves to the assumption that a hospital board would fix it. There is no evidence to support either of these assumptions. I have taken the time to have a read through Mrs Burke’s introductory speech to have a look at the reasons behind the Liberals’ desire to establish a hospital board in the ACT, and the speech just simply does not support the argument at all. The speech refers constantly to increases in bureaucracy; that the number of public servants in the health bureaucracy has, in some way, damaged the health system; that it is management failure. Infiltrated in amongst the speech is a constant bagging of the Chief Minister and me as the Minister for Health. But it does not substantiate an argument for a public health board or a hospital board in any way. In fact, there is not one reason given, other than perceived management efficiencies in the health system.

Mr Mulcahy: That’s not a bad reason.

MS GALLAGHER: As I said, perceived inefficiencies. It refers to more management than ever before, when there is less management. We have fewer managers, fewer bureaucrats—and this is something that the Liberals just refuse to accept. They just keep talking about it but the numbers simply do not support their argument.

According to the introductory speech the bill is allegedly going to fix the Liberals’ perceived problems, but it does not say how. It just says that you appoint a number of people—no nurses, no allied health staff—

Mrs Burke: That’s not true. Read the speech again.

MS GALLAGHER: I have read the speech and I have read health care consumers; clinicians—

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