Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2071 ..
Mrs Burke: You’re obviously on the ropes because you’re on the person.
MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mrs Burke. Is there a supplementary question?
MS MacDONALD: Thank you for that answer to my question. My supplementary question is: can you please advise the Assembly on what measures have already been taken to ensure that our health system continues to meet the needs of our community?
MS GALLAGHER: I can and I will. In fact, at lunchtime today I went out to the hospital and spoke to a packed auditorium of staff—doctors, nurses and other health professionals—who are interested in and excited about the plan that we have outlaid: a 10-year plan, a $1 billion investment. It will exceed $1 billion by the time it is finished. This workforce is excited at seeing a government that is prepared to stand up and say, “This isn’t about short-term political gain; this is about preparing our hospital and our health system for the future.” They are excited to hear that.
But what they do not hear is what those opposite are going to do. My guess is that those opposite will just have to copy our policy, because it is so comprehensive; it is the only way forward. They will have no choice. If they do not copy it—if they do not at a minimum copy our plans for the future—they are going to leave this community underprepared and underfunded, like they did in 2001, because the challenges of the future are so significant.
The plan that we have is a 10-year plan. It is kicked off in this year’s budget; it supports the work that has happened before. It is about a $90 million women’s and children’s hospital. It is around a $37 million investment in mental health facilities. It is about an $18 million new community health centre in Gungahlin. It is about a new intensive-care unit at Calvary. It is about digital mammography—$5 million. There is a $5½ million neurosurgery suite, a centre of excellence. People are already travelling here to have neurosurgery because of the skills that we have managed to attract and retain in our city. It is around a $5 million overhaul of our community health facilities. It is a $4 million increase for a surgical assessment planning unit. It is more beds—$2.4 million for 24 new beds. It is about skilling our workforce—keeping them here, attracting them with training and research, with a $1.3 million skills development centre.
Mr Seselja: You’ve still got three minutes; you can slow down.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Seselja!
MS GALLAGHER: Mr Seselja interjects and makes fun of this—
MR SPEAKER: Never mind Mr Seselja.
MS GALLAGHER: the most critical issue for our community—the health system. And what do you offer? Two hundred thousand dollars. That is what you offer—$200,000. No plan, no commitment, no idea, no policy and a shadow health minister who has been told to shut up and stay off the radio and off the TV because she is such an embarrassment to that party and she cannot—in anyone’s consciousness—believe