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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 25 February 2010) . . Page.. 775 ..


revenue. Look at the budget circumstances there—the litany of failure by the previous Labor Government, the debt that was incurred and the revenue. She had a billion dollars—$1.1 billion in revenue—when she was there. The revenue now is $3½ billion. It has tripled. What she had to deal with was a very different circumstance. It was again a Liberal government dealing with Labor debt.

It is time that this government stopped trying to put everything back on a decision—which I still cannot find any proof of—14 years ago and started taking responsibility and showing accountability for the perilous state of a number of aspects of our health system. Until they acknowledge that they have any responsibility in dealing with this issue—that they are responsible as Chief Minister and Minister for Health, rather than denying any responsibility and trying to say that this is all due to something that happened 14 years ago—it is absolutely appalling. It is probably the biggest abrogation of responsibility and ministerial accountability that many of us have seen in the history of ACT self-government.

I can go on, and I will, on other aspects. I would like to go into them in detail, but time will preclude it. But let me tell you this. There is terrible access block, high bed occupancy, the lowest ever GP availability, GP bulk-billing rates the lowest in the nation, fee for service the highest in the nation and the availability of public dentists the lowest in the nation. Infrastructure—$57 million rolled over in the last budget in health alone.

Let me give an example—operating theatres that open for the minister and the Prime Minister for a lovely photo opportunity. We will certainly see her out there when there is a photo opportunity. Are those operating theatres that she said would be open the very next month open? No. It takes months. And so on. Where is the secure mental health facility?

This is a minister who has failed dismally and who fails to take responsibility for that failing. (Time expired.)

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health) (3.41): I welcome the opportunity to talk about our health system again, as we have at some length this week, and to respond in general. I believe there were at least four or five references in Mr Hanson’s speech where I have been verballed. I will be going through and checking those and responding. I think what Mr Hanson is making a habit of is being extremely loose with the truth and the facts. I think at some point in time somebody is going to have to pull him up on that.

I think a number of times in your speech today, Mr Hanson, you made reference to comments that I had made about a war of 10 years at the Canberra Hospital, for example. I have not made those comments. Particularly on an issue like this where there is going to be an extensive review, I think it would be helpful if all of the commentators in this place actually told the truth and kept to the facts.

Our health system—and I will stand by this—is one of the best not only in the country but in the world and we are very lucky to have such a health system, for a community of our size. The fact that our population is only 350,000, that we actually support


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