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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3608 ..


Mrs Burke: Yes, what are they?

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!

MS GALLAGHER: which are medical; the division of general practice; the AMA; the mental health coalition and the general community. There is not the representation that is even provided through my ACT Health Council, for example. The minister’s health council has broad representation which provides advice to the minister and the government on issues to do with public health. Mrs Burke’s speech put forward arguments, if you can call them arguments, including that this board will “tackle very difficult issues within our public hospital system”. How? It goes on with “reverse the gradual decline in overall management of the public hospital system”. Where? Where is the overall decline in the management of the public hospital system? It says that we want to be as far away from the coalface as we can possibly be. What a load of rubbish! A board will put a minister further away from the coalface than we currently are at the moment, where there is direct communication from the hospital through the chief executive and to me. There is no way that putting another layer of bureaucracy—in effect, a hospital board—will keep the government any closer to the hospital.

Mrs Burke continually attacks bureaucrats, saying that they fail in their inability to lead and manage. She refers to a bureaucratic regime, a cumbersome disaster wreaking havoc on helpless staff, management letting every one of these people down at every level, unprecedented increases in waiting times, waiting lists, and an exponential tally of mishaps and inefficiencies. But, again, there is no further explanation of that. It is what we get used to from Mrs Burke. She comes in and makes a whole range of cliched accusations or allegations but she does not go on to say—

Mrs Burke: Have you got the emails; have you got the letters yet?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, “an exponential tally of mishaps and inefficiencies”—list them for us. List them and tell us why and how a board will fix those. How will a hospital board fix that? The board, you say, will be able to monitor hospital performance. We currently report more publicly than any other jurisdiction in the country on every aspect of public health. Every aspect of public health is reported on in quarterly performance reports that are provided to members. In fact, it has been the interest of the Assembly in health that has delivered those performance reports. It is because this Assembly has wanted to see the hospital perform that performance reports like the ones we provide every quarter have been provided.

It is also interesting to note that the hospital board, under Mrs Burke’s system, would have responsibility for hospital budgets, have a closer focus on fiscal responsibility and ensure that the health system delivers on all fronts. Again, how it will do this is unclear. It is interesting to note that, although the Chief Minister is criticised for abolishing the board in 2002 following the Reid review, prior to that a second appropriation had to be made in order to deal with the budget blow-out at Canberra Hospital, which was being run by a board, which supposedly will be able to manage a


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