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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 174 ..

Ms Cheyne’s motion also refers to $1.5 million of new grants to intensive bulk-billing services in Canberra’s south. You would think that if a government backbencher was going to put together a motion about the government’s achievements they would get the figures right. It is $1.05 million. This is an interesting development, because this was an election commitment. Treasury costed it at an additional $1.05 million, and the minister talked about that in her press release the other day, but we are almost two years from that announcement and the government has not got an idea how to implement it, which is why it is going out to the community for ideas about how it might spend their money.

Ms Cheyne having been given this hospital pass, obviously her heart was not in it. She also has the outrageous cheek to refer in the motion to the helipad upgrade. We had to upgrade the helipad because it was one of the four extreme risks in the ACT health system’s maintenance system that needed to be fixed. The government should not be claiming credit for having let the helipad get into such a bad state of repair. And what are we going to do now? The money that has been set aside for fixing the switchboard that caught fire last year: is Ms Cheyne going to claim that that is important expenditure and trumpet it as a great achievement by the government? The great achievement of this government was to let the infrastructure get into the state that it was in so that we have to spend the money that we are now spending.

Ms Cheyne’s motion refers to the surgical procedures and interventional radiography and emergency centre at the Canberra Hospital. This facility will not see the light of day until at least 2020 and maybe beyond that. If the Canberra Liberals were on the government benches now, we would have already started on the upgrading of building 3, a project that was championed by Ms Gallagher, this minister’s predecessor but one, but abandoned by the government in favour of light rail. This was a project supported by the AMA and this is the project that the people of the ACT need, not something that is put off to the never-never beyond the next election.

In 2008 the then health minister, Katy Gallagher, referred to a “tsunami in health” that would arrive about 2016. That health tsunami has arrived, and this government is not ready for it. Indeed it will not be ready for it for another five years at the earliest. Ms Cheyne’s motion refers to the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. The reason we are upgrading the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children is that it was built below capacity in the first place. When the hospital for women and children was first announced the health minister at the time, Ms Gallagher, went to great pains to explain to people that there would be not one extra bed. There would be not one extra crib. It would be a new facility with better circulation space but there would be not one extra bed, and that was seen as a virtue. We are spending money to extend the women’s and children’s hospital because it was below spec when it was opened.

Ms Cheyne’s motion refers to nurse-led walk-in centres. The minister for health advised in her answer to question on notice No 611:

A direct correlation between hospital Emergency Department … activity and Walk-in Centre … activity is not possible, because the issue is multifactorial.

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