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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3666 ..

Calvary Public Hospital—proposed purchase

Ministerial statement

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (3.31), by leave: I would like to provide members with a statement on the progress in negotiations with the Little Company of Mary Health Care in relation to the future operation of public hospital services on the Calvary hospital site. There have been some comments suggesting delays and mismanagement in relation to this matter. However, the issues related to the nature of the role of Calvary Public Hospital are not straightforward.

In addition, as well as the complex and sensitive negotiations over the future management of the public hospital, we now know that the accounting interpretations for the public sector in relation to the operations of facilities like Calvary Public Hospital are likely to change. The territory’s accounting policy is to apply officially endorsed accounting interpretations and this has major implications for negotiations over the future of the hospital.

The ACT government entered into negotiations about the transfer of Calvary Public Hospital with the Little Company of Mary Health Care, based on the accounting advice about the ownership of the hospital. However no-one—the Auditor-General, the Treasury, the government, the opposition, or indeed expert commentators like Tony Harris or Terry Dwyer—anticipated the accounting interpretation on which our negotiations were based would change dramatically. As such, it would be negligent for the government to try to rush a solution without being fully aware of all of the implications of the proposed new accounting interpretation.

I would like to note that, throughout this entire process relating to the sale of Calvary hospital, I have been committed to ensuring that our public health system is equipped to provide the best possible services to our community, and a fully integrated hospital system is a critical element of an effective public health system. It is my intention to have services working together across Canberra under a single governance structure, enabling ACT Health to better provide services to meet current and projected needs.

As the Assembly is aware, the territory entered negotiations with the Little Company of Mary Health Care in an attempt to bring the public hospital, operated by Calvary Health Care ACT, within ACT Health’s direct management. In October 2009, the government and the Little Company of Mary Health Care announced in-principle agreement to a proposal for the ACT government to purchase Calvary Public Hospital from the Little Company of Mary Health Care and for the government to operate the hospital.

This agreement included proposals to enable Little Company of Mary Health Care to retain land on the Calvary hospital campus at Bruce for a private hospital to be built and operated by the Little Company of Mary Health Care. The agreement also included a proposal for Little Company of Mary Health Care to purchase Clare Holland House from the ACT government on the strict condition that the Clare Holland House site continued to be used solely for the purpose of providing a public

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