Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1538 ..
us. We have, in the course of our deliberations, considered other options. They range from compulsorily acquiring it, as I have said, which the government has at this point ruled out, based on, I think, a pretty adversarial approach that that would entail for 30 per cent of our public hospital system. There is the option of a third hospital, which we have not progressed further in terms of examining land available, because, again, it is not our preference. We do not wish to be required to go to that point, but it remains an option on the table if we cannot resolve the issues that the government faces from a budgetary point of view in relation to the ownership of Calvary Public Hospital.
We have discussed complicated technical options around subleasing and looking at small portions of land on the Calvary site that we could purchase in order to build public infrastructure, as a subcomponent of the lease that they are in. But that did get to a level of complexity, and when we lined it up against the opportunity to purchase the hospital and have Little Company of Mary operate it, which is a much cleaner and simpler arrangement, the government decided to pursue that in this instance.
As I said, we put a proposal. It is very bare bones at the moment. Officials have been meeting to put some more detail around that. But it has not reached the point where there is a concrete proposal being considered. You will see from the information I have tabled—and I have tabled the archbishop’s response to the Chief Minister’s letter—that the archbishop had indicated a preference for that information to be kept confidential, but advice to the government was that the motion passed yesterday did mean that that letter should be tabled, and I have forwarded that decision to the archbishop for his information.
I do raise one last issue. I noted yesterday, in the debate around Calvary, that there was much concern from the opposition at the insinuation that they may have received information or have been privy to information when they had not been. And I accept Mrs Dunne’s view on that. Members will be aware from the information tabled today that there is some information there about a desire for an 88-year arrangement to be entered into. This is not a negotiating position of the government. But I would draw members’ attention to the fact that Mr Hanson mentioned an 88-year agreement yesterday, which I am sure is just a fluke—that they have managed to get that information, that they have information about an 88-year arrangement that has not appeared publicly anywhere. But there you go, Mr Hanson; I am sure it was a fluke. You are not that clever. (Time expired.)
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson?
MR HANSON: Minister, why have you kept these options from the public, and what analysis has been done of these options?
MS GALLAGHER: I do not think I have kept them from the public. I have talked in this place a number of times about the options available to the government, from compulsory acquisition to a third hospital to the discussion that I answered in a question from Mrs Dunne last Thursday about confidential negotiations that were occurring between government in a commercial transaction. It is not going to assist any of the discussions if I am called upon to explain in this place every little part of the negotiations and minutiae of detail, and, if I do not, I am going to be accused of having some sort of secret deal going on.