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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 March 2008) . . Page.. 400 ..

Mr Stanhope: I do withdraw it, Mr Speaker. I did not say Mr Smyth was a liar; I said the claim was a lie.

MR SPEAKER: Just withdraw.

Mr Stanhope: I withdraw.

MS GALLAGHER: I will go to the question that was asked of me. This government has a proud record on health—an extremely proud record on health. We have increased the health budget by 61 per cent since coming to government. We have injected beds. We have built facilities; not only for inpatient activity but we have increased facilities in the community setting. We have supported the development of workforce initiatives to make sure that we have a workforce ready to provide the health needs of the future. Every indicator in our health system is heading the right way. Our access block is coming down. Our beds are going up. Our bed occupancy is going down. Our staff rates are going up. We have more specialists than ever before who are choosing to, want to, come and work in the ACT because of the opportunities that are provided.

Our elective surgery waits need to continue, but we are delivering around 2,000 extra procedures a year than were being provided just four years ago—

Mr Smyth: The population is growing.

MS GALLAGHER: That is 2,000 extra operations a year. Our long waits are dropping.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: Our access to emergency surgery is the best in the country. The Productivity Commission’s report did not say we had the worst elective surgery rates in the country. In fact, some of our rates are the best in the country, particularly around our emergency levels.

Mr Smyth: Not in categories 3, 4 and 5.

MS GALLAGHER: Our ambulance off-stretcher time is increasing. Our emergency department timeliness is improving. I know the Leader of the Opposition is not interested in this. He asks the question and he turns his back on the answer—because the news in health is good.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: We have a plan for the future, as opposed to those opposite who have not come up with one idea—

Mr Smyth interjecting—


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