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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 566 ..

estimates suggest that this will equate to the investment of over $200 million. I cannot actually see, for the life of me, why those opposite would not want to see this investment take place. They are always standing up in this place and speaking about the way that they believe that our health service should be delivered and how they believe that our emergency service departments should respond and our operating theatres should have more throughput. And yet when this government puts forward a plan to actually enable that to happen and for it to be improved—because, as the health minister said, we can always improve even though we have an excellent health service here—the opposition decide that they want to stymie that plan. And they have successfully done so so far.

The status quo is not sustainable, and it is not the supported option of this government. Indeed much of the feedback we have received during the public consultations on this matter indicated that this is a view shared by a range of stakeholders. As the minister has said on a number of occasions, she believes there may be a number of options that the government can consider as we work with the Little Company of Mary Health Care over the months ahead to continue to provide high-quality healthcare services to the community. I know Ms Gallagher will take advice from across government and update the Assembly at the appropriate time. And I will play my role in representing my constituents in this process.

A particular disappointment in this is that the opportunity to integrate the management of service delivery and the management of the ACT’s two public hospitals has now been lost. While acknowledging the excellent work of the Little Company of Mary Health Care in running Calvary hospital, the separation of responsibilities will continue to reduce the capacity for coordinated public hospital service delivery across the ACT.

Further work is now needed on the funding agreement that reflects the operating arrangements in place between the Little Company of Mary Health Care and the ACT government. This needs to take place in order to minimise these problems and to update the contractual arrangements that date back to the 1970s.

Finally, as the motion suggests, I would like to express my thanks to the sisters for their preparedness and their determination to work with the ACT government, despite what has happened in the recent past, and to prepare for the future healthcare needs of our community, which I am sure is their aim and which, of course, is the government’s aim.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (11.10): Firstly, let me say something in response to a couple of points that Ms Porter made. First, she said, “This is not about us.” Well, it is; it is all about Labor Party ideology. She tries to say that there is some broader aim in terms of delivering health to the residents of the north of Canberra. We all want that to occur, but this was a narrow, ideological agenda that has been driven by this party since at least 2005.

The second point is that she has pointed her finger very squarely at the opposition—I assume that she is pointing it at me—for stymieing this deal. As much as I would probably like to take credit, I think that it would be a little bit ambitious to say so. I

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