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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2827 ..

I want to put on the record as well my concerns about the employment arrangements for former senator Gallagher at Calvary Hospital. It is unclear, and the minister was unclear, as to what Ms Gallagher’s role was. I also put on the record that the minister needs to ensure that Ms Gallagher is not involved in the negotiation of the $200 million single select tender contract with Calvary Hospital.

That is important because, through no fault of her own but because of her previous experience, Ms Gallagher’s presence in those negotiations would create an uneven playing field which would tip the advantage in favour of the Little Company of Mary and Calvary Hospital and away from ACT Health, because people who Minister Gallagher would be negotiating with would be people who had, until a short while ago, been briefing her as the minister for health. I have heard by back channels that Ms Gallagher has been attending a range of meetings with ACT Health, and I have received the complaint that people are unhappy about that arrangement because of her previous relationship with ACT Health. It is something that the minister needs to be aware of. She cannot just say this is a matter for Calvary and the Little Company of Mary. If former minister Gallagher is negotiating on behalf of Calvary with ACT Health, it is her responsibility to ensure that it is done fairly and to the best advantage of ACT taxpayers.

I will have more to say about health in the next item. There is much to say and not a great deal to be proud of.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (11.36): I rise to speak in support of the health measures in the 2018-19 budget. The budget delivers the public healthcare services needed for our growing city: more doctors and more nurses providing the critical healthcare services Canberrans rely on; and investments to plan and build hospitals and walk-in centres so that as we grow we can continue to have high quality, accessible and affordable health care when it is needed.

Woden is the central hub of health in the ACT. We know we have both health policy departments there and, of course, it is also the centre of our acute and other healthcare services at the Canberra Hospital as well. The budget provides a significant investment in health care on the south side that benefits the whole of Canberra and, of course, our region.

Our budget provides an additional $112 million in core public hospital services which will help ensure faster and additional critical and emergency care. The ACT government is delivering $47.2 million for improved and additional acute care at the Canberra Hospital, much of which will go towards the emergency department, which has experienced a 23 per cent increase in visitations over the past three years.

Part of that funding will also go towards extra hospital beds, increasing the total number at the Canberra Hospital by up to 80 over the forward estimates helping to address the challenges of the winter season. Our investment of $64.7 million is providing a permanent increase in the number of elective surgeries by 1,000 annually, reducing waiting times. This is permanently boosting the number of elective surgeries to 14,000 each year to cater for growing demand.

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