Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3085 ..
MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and is about ACT Health’s funding contracts with non-government organisations. Today being 1 July, a number of non-government organisations are meant to have their new three-year funding contracts in place. Negotiations on many of those contracts have not concluded and in some cases have not yet started. Minister, could you please advise the Assembly why some contracts have not been put in place in time and when you expect they will be signed off?
MS GALLAGHER: I will take the detail of that question on notice in terms of what organisations have not got a contract in place, or a new three-year contract in place. I understand Health has been negotiating with the community sector. Some of the changes that I think have been considered as part of contract arrangements have not been able to be finalised in time so there was an agreement that we not pursue those changes for this contract period. My understanding is that Health has been in discussions with all organisations about their funding arrangements and that they will continue unchanged. As to whether all of those have been signed off by today, I will come back to you.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?
MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, until new contracts are in place, what is the way forward for payments to non-government organisations, including promised indexation?
MS GALLAGHER: I do not think there should be any concern around community organisations not being paid. Essentially, it is a continuation of the current contract while new contracts are signed. I would be interested to hear if you have got an organisation that is not clear on the process ahead because we will need to respond to that. I do not think it is acceptable if on 1 July there are organisations who are worried about whether they are getting any financial support from the department, including additional indexation which will flow with the passage of this budget this morning, probably. I am happy to follow it up. As to mechanisms to allow funding to flow, essentially it will require a rollover of the current contract.
MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.
MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, will the government be providing organisations with back pay to 1 July if they are able to negotiate payments that are higher than they currently receive?
MS GALLAGHER: The government certainly will pay, in terms of increased indexation, the money from 1 July. In relation to whether there is a contract change and an increased output or a new project done, that will depend on what that period of time is specified for. If it is from 1 July then, yes, it will be paid from 1 July. We do not ever try to scrimp on paying the community sector in Health.