Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1527 ..
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, a supplementary?
MR HANSON: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, do you expect that this financial year’s underspend will be more or less than last year’s $57 million underspend on capital works in health?
MS GALLAGHER: The figures will be outlined as part of the budget. The underspend in health does not, as I am urging members to understand, necessarily mean that health projects are being delayed. That is the important issue. The issue of invoicing and when payments are made may have changed and may contribute to an underspend, but the big projects, including the adult inpatient unit, which will commence construction in the second half of this year, will contribute partly to the underspend.
In terms of the car park, that is due for physical completion by the end of this calendar year, but some of the invoicing or the payments around that will not happen, potentially, this financial year. The women’s and children’s hospital has been delayed for a couple of months, but it is not clear yet whether that will mean any delays in the completion date for the new part of the hospital. In relation to working out some issues with the Friends of the Birth Centre, I understand now that we have worked through them to satisfactory completion. There are some projects that will contribute to large components of the underspend, but the majority of health capital works projects are being delivered on budget and on time.
MR HANSON: Supplementary, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: What, if any, effects are the delays in delivering infrastructure projects in health having on our waiting times in our emergency departments and for elective surgery?
MS GALLAGHER: None. The beds, which are the single biggest part of having an impact on elective surgery waiting times and the emergency department, have all been delivered; the rest will be delivered on time, as have been the operating theatres. Extra capacity in operating theatres and extra capacity in bed numbers in the hospital—
Mr Smyth: And they are all open?
MS GALLAGHER: are the single biggest contributors to creating—
Mr Smyth: Are they all open?
MS GALLAGHER: More beds are open in the hospital than were ever, ever even dreamed of being open in your time, Mr Smyth. Four hundred and seventy-odd beds—
Mr Smyth: But it’s 10 years later, minister.