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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 4923 ..


The Canberra Times recently reported that SPIRE may not go ahead on the planned site due to problems with—guess what?—a helipad and a car park being on the site already. It is a little hard to imagine how we came up with a policy to build a new building on top of existing infrastructure without having some plan for relocating that infrastructure in the process. Last year the Canberra Times reported that the SPIRE was planned to open in 2022, but tender documents reveal that this date has been put back to late 2024. Given the logistical problems involved with the current site of SPIRE, I am doubtful that we will meet that time frame.

We have a litany of problems in the health system. It is clear that Minister Fitzharris is not across any of the plan. She is not across the plans for SPIRE. She is not able to address the issues in relation to infrastructure. She cannot address the issues in relation to staff culture. All the while, we are bleeding staff or we are unable to recruit staff, in a very difficult environment. The minister did nothing about the issues in relation to hospital pharmacies until the hospital pharmacist threatened to take industrial action. We have had the issue of failing to get training accreditation in the radiology department. And issues were brought to the attention of the hospital as early as February 2017 that the minister, by her own admission, says that she knew nothing about until we had our accreditation downgraded to D grade, from A grade, in May this year.

This says everything about the quality of this minister and the quality of her leadership. She has created an environment where no-one dares to tell her when there is a problem. She wants to be the minister for plausible deniability. She wants to be able to say, “I didn’t know. I wasn’t briefed. It’s not my fault. It’s somebody else’s fault.” But she is the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, the person responsible for the hospital and health care of the people of the ACT, and she has failed. She has failed comprehensively. The litany goes on and on. That is why this minister needs to be censured.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Medical and Health Research, Minister for Transport and Minister for Vocational Education and Skills) (10.17): I am very pleased to talk about the many achievements of ACT Health and Canberra Health Services under my leadership over the past year that the opposition seem to have missed. It is curious that those opposite take such delight in criticising and denigrating our public health system, yet when we make improvements and changes to ensure that the health system is futureproofed, becomes more sustainable and delivers more health care for patients they seem to want to criticise that too.

It is the same tired, reckless and negative politics we see from the Liberal Party right across the country—no ideas, just negative politics. On this side of the chamber we know the vital importance of a sustainable healthcare system and how much access to health care means for our community. It has been a very busy 12 months for our local public health sector, and I am proud of its many achievements. I remind those opposite that since its last failed attempt in May, Canberra Hospital has passed its accreditation. This was a huge achievement for our health workforce and I am extremely proud to see the way the Health Directorate, led by the director-general, got


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