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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6142 ..


collapsed. We are in a First World country here and we have got a government that undertakes projects where bridges collapse. Thank God no-one was killed. But we have a situation where the GDE stands as an example of the way this government gets things done. It is years and years late. The government did not finish it in the first place. It got it wrong. It was not fit for purpose. It then had to duplicate it. People are waiting in traffic, frustrated. Then we saw the bridge collapse. I think that is emblematic of this government’s performance.

We often hear, and we heard from the Chief Minister again, just how much the government spend. That is always the greatest achievement they can point to: just how much of our money they spend on stuff—not the outcomes they get but how much they spend. In that regard it has been a great year for the government because they have spent a lot of our money. It has been a great year for dam building because they were only going to spend $120 million, $145 million, $180 million—$180 million perhaps we will give them—and now they are going to spend $363 million. But we are still getting one dam. We are still getting the same size dam. We are not getting a bigger dam. We are not getting two dams; we are not getting three dams. We are still getting the same amount of water for three times the price. If we put into context the record investments that they speak about, that is an example—record investment in dams; three times the cost, same result. Same result: one dam.

Let us look at health—again record investments; always record investments. They are always spending more of our money. They are taxing us much more and spending more. But let us have a look at the results in health. We have the lowest bulk-billing rates in the country, the longest elective surgery waiting lists in the country and some of the worst emergency department waiting times in the country. Some of the stats are even worse than in New South Wales. In fact, in health in a number of areas New South Wales outdoes us. This government cannot even point to the New South Wales defence. That was the Victorian government’s defence: “We are not quite as bad as New South Wales.” Well, in health, when it comes to waiting lists and other areas, we are actually worse—worse than New South Wales.

The clinical outcomes review found evidence of a systematic reticence to address staff performance issues in the maternity unit at the Canberra Hospital, particularly issues relating to inappropriate behaviour by certain medical staff. There was a bullying and harassment inquiry and it has been covered up; it has been covered up just this week.

The Calvary sale: the government tried to spend $77 million of our money on something that they simply did not need to spend money on—$77 million that they wanted to throw away because the minister did not do her homework, because the government got it wrong. And thank God there were people raising objections, like Mr Hanson and others in the community, to the point where it fell over.

Health funding: we are the territory that is going to hand over more GST than anyone. We are going to hand over 50 per cent of our GST when other states are only handing over 30 or 25 per cent or even less. Why would we hand over so much more to get exactly the same thing from the commonwealth that every other jurisdiction is getting?


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