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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 55 ..


Obviously Mr Smyth does not agree that is one of the financial challenges now presented to the government. You do not agree with the Treasury advice to the government that the best way forward is for the government to own an asset when it is going to invest in excess of $200 million in it. Treasury advice, unsurprisingly, to the government—I do not know why you would be doubting this—is: “If you are going to spend upwards of $200 million upgrading a facility, we reckon it is in the territory’s best interests that you own it.” What a surprise that would be!

Mr Hanson: $160 million over 20 years?

MS GALLAGHER: Do you think Treasury might say, “Actually, we think you should invest $200 million, but just hand it over as a grant to a third party. That is the best way forward for our budget”? What a ridiculous situation! It is very clear that the most beneficial way for our budget is for us to own the asset, for us to invest in it and for us to deliver the services. Nobody has been able to find fault with that advice. You can raise questions on it but you have not been able to find fault with it.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hanson interjecting

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, it is a bad start to the year from you. You have been interjecting all afternoon and it is starting to become tiresome. It is only day one of the season. Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you advise of the difficulties in funding a $200-million rebuild of the Calvary hospital site?

MS GALLAGHER: As members have heard me say a number of times in this place, the challenge presented to the government is: how do we manage an upgrade of this size, of this order, essentially doubling your public hospital capacity on that site for an asset that we do not own? If I could give you the example of the intensive care unit. That is a unit that is costing around $11 million to build. It is almost complete. Anyone who drives by Calvary will see that construction on the side of the hospital as you enter Mary Potter Avenue. That asset has been completely funded by the people of the ACT up to the tune of $11 million, straight from our bottom line, as has always been the way in terms of upgrading facilities at Calvary under any government that has made those decisions.

This is where I am interested that Mr Smyth thinks there is a magic remedy to this when it has not been one that has been uncovered by any other government when it has made an investment. You can manage small pieces of investment: $10 million hits our bottom line, but you can manage it for one year. It does not drive the budget into continued deficit year after year after year. If Mr Smyth can support the allegation that he raises with me, which is that we have starved Calvary of funds, indeed he can go back and have a look at the facts.


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