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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3062 ..

By not addressing the cultural issues, by putting her head in the sand, by pretending that there was nothing wrong and nothing going on before being forced to do something about it, the minister has significantly contributed to this problem. She has not shown leadership. She has had several years now as health minister and the stats have continued to deteriorate. They have deteriorated under her leadership. So there is no-one else to blame.

When we hear “there is more demand” and this sort of thing, is that not happening in other parts of the country? Apparently there has not been an increase in demand in New South Wales, Victoria or Queensland. They are not experiencing any demand. There is no population growth in any of those places. There is no ageing population in any of those places. Apparently that is just a Canberra problem. It defies credibility. And the stats do speak for themselves.

Then we see the personal stories. Allan McFarlane, who is again on the front page of the Canberra Times today, finally got surgery. Is it not a good thing that he finally got surgery? But is it not terrible that he had to wait for so long? And is it not disturbing that it takes publicity before some people get seen? I think it was on the very day that it was in the Canberra Times and almost as soon as it had finished on the radio that the carer got a call saying, “Yes, now we have got a date for surgery.”

What about all the other people who are not fortunate enough to get on the front page of the Canberra Times to highlight their plight? Allan McFarlane is not the only one who is waiting so long. The statistics say that there are thousands of others. The statistics say that we are doing far worse than anywhere in the country.

The minister should get up and say, in real terms, “Why is it that we are doing so much worse than New South Wales?” Let us take that comparison for a moment. “What is it that New South Wales is doing so much better than we are on elective surgery when they are considered to be such a poor-performing government?” The minister will have the opportunity and we look forward to hearing from her on this issue. (Time expired.)

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.46): Mr Assistant Speaker, it was during the estimates that we finally had revealed to us the true extent of how much GST revenue the federal government are now going to retain to fund their national hospital reforms. Since the end of the committee, we have since heard that the main plank of the reforms has fallen apart. One of the main planks of the reform was to have the National Funding Authority. It was to oversee the transfer of money to the local hospitals network.

I note that both the main report and the dissenting report have, in various ways, asked the government to continue to update the Assembly and thereby the people of the ACT on what will happen with this. It will be interesting to see if the minister in her speech when she finishes this section is actually able to tell us what the loss of the National Funding Authority means. If the body that was to distribute the funds disappears, then the mechanism to regulate that distribution is also gone.

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