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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3618 ..

decision taken at one of their little strategy meetings was the explicit decision to bomb the Canberra Hospital. Having closed 114 beds, they continued with it and then explicitly took that dramatic decision.

In relation to the issue of boards, the minister has mentioned the fact that within two months of coming to government in 2001 we introduced a second appropriation bill, driven entirely by the need—this is in December, before we had reached the halfway point within the year—to meet a $6 million black hole in the Canberra Hospital’s budget. Within two months of coming to government, we introduced a bill.

That particular bill—go and have a look at it—had two major purposes. The first was to fill a $6 million hole within the hospital’s budget. The second was to provide funding for a nurses agreement, which the then minister, Michael Moore, had been unable to resolve. In fact, he inflamed it. We got to the point of actually beginning to negotiate a 14 per cent rise for nurses and when we came into government we discovered in the forward years a one per cent allowance for a 14 per cent negotiated pay rise.

This is the nature of Liberal Party budgeting. This is the nature of the $20 million surplus that Gary Humphries still boasts about producing that year—a $20 million or thereabouts surplus in the context of a negotiated agreement, or partially negotiated agreement with nurses for a 14 per cent pay rise with a one per cent budget allocation. That was the state of health.

Of course, at that time there was a board, and we should look at some of the experience in relation to boards. I would like to take the opportunity of quoting Jim Service, the Liberal appointed chair of a board—I think he was appointed in 1989—from a report by Chris Uhlmann in the Canberra Times of 23 December 1992.

Mr Pratt: 1992?

Mrs Burke: Good lord! You are grasping at straws now.

MR STANHOPE: This is relevant to the prior experience of hospital boards, their role in management and their effectiveness and success. It is relevant to go to the comments of Jim—

Opposition members interjecting

MR STANHOPE: No, this is very relevant—extremely relevant. He was appointed by the Liberals, actually, after a vote of no confidence within the nonsense that actually developed there. Jim Service was appointed under legislation introduced and passed by the Liberals. The Canberra Times article stated:

The chairman of the ACT Board of Health, Jim Service, has resigned in protest at Legislative Assembly interference in health management, leaving the way open for the Government to abolish the board.

The Minister for Health, Wayne Berry, said yesterday that he was disappointed by Mr Service’s decision … but would move … to amend the … Act …

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