Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4414 ..
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.20): The government will not be supporting this amendment. As I have said earlier, we are very happy to have the committee investigate, inquire and provide assistance. But the government cannot be constrained by a timetable set by an Assembly committee to not make decisions about the future of health services on the north side of Canberra.
This is a decision that the government will take. If we can take it with the assistance provided by the committee—they may want to table an interim report, for example, around what they are thinking prior to March—that would be useful. But we will not stand here and sign up to say that we will do nothing and take no decisions until the committee has finished. What you are doing by that is trying to constrain the government in what can be—
Mr Smyth: We are holding the government accountable to the Assembly.
MS GALLAGHER: Well, as Mr Hanson pointed out, if a decision is made that requires appropriation, then there will be plenty of opportunity for the Assembly to have scrutiny of that decision outside of the inquiry process.
But in relation to the March timetable, if the government cannot take a formal decision until the committee reports in March—presuming it keeps to that timetable and reports in March—and then the government has to take decisions, it will miss next year’s budget. That is what you are asking us to do. You are asking us to not make any decisions, to not spend money on the north-side hospital, on Calvary, until the committee has had time to make its decision.
A committee report normally has a three-month turnaround for a government response. We will not sign up to this timetable, and I have been very clear in my speech that the government will make decisions about the north-side hospital needs regardless of this inquiry, although we will work very closely with the committee and assist them as much as we can.
MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (11.22): While I do appreciate the intentions of Mr Hanson’s amendment, and I have discussed this with Mr Hanson as well, I do not agree that it is necessary, as the committee’s investigative and reporting processes will be completed before the budget process, when and where the key decisions on the future of Calvary will be made and undertaken. The government reports to the Assembly on the budget and the Assembly will analyse and make decisions on the budget. So for that reason, I do not think this amendment is necessary and the Greens will not be supporting it.
That Mr Hanson’s amendment be agreed to.
The Assembly voted—