Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 460 ..
more than 70 per cent of category 2 patients seen on time. Through the response to the COVID-19 situation, where we saw non-urgent category 2 and 3 elective surgeries reduced as a response—
Mr Hanson: I raise a point of order on relevance, Madam Speaker. The minister is giving us a bit of a history lesson, but the question was whether the elective surgery wait times are included in her promise to fix wait times at the hospital. I ask her to be succinct and directly relevant, please.
MADAM SPEAKER: She is on the policy area and she has a minute left.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: In response to those delayed elective surgeries, we are on track to deliver more than 16,000 elective surgeries this financial year. We were, pre-COVID, on track to deliver 14,250 elective surgeries, and in the previous year we delivered more than 14,000, which was more than ever before. During the election campaign, we committed to continuing to increase our rate of elective surgery. That will continue to address both waiting times and the number of people on the waiting list. We will continue to improve, as we have been over time. We will not make ridiculous promises that could never be delivered, which is what we saw the Canberra Liberals do during the election campaign.
MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Business and Better Regulation. Minister, can you please outline to the Assembly how the budget supports clubs?
MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. We recognise that our clubs, like many businesses, had an exceptional 2020, impacted by a dry summer, bushfires and then, of course, the pandemic. We are committed to supporting our clubs, and one of the ways we are doing this is in regard to water. Water costs make up a significant proportion of clubs’ costs, and they are fixed costs that cannot be lowered just because patronage might be down.
With this budget the government will be immediately establishing a hardship fund for clubs who are high intensity users of non-potable water. We will provide a full rebate of those clubs’ non-potable water costs for the 2020-21 financial year. This is an immediate, tangible outcome that will help clubs as they come through the recovery and continue to provide the services and spaces that so many Canberrans enjoy.
To support clubs with cost pressures in the long term, we are conducting a review of non-potable water costs for high-intensity users. The government will work with clubs in understanding their costs, together with an ICRC investigation, with a view to learning how these costs can be more sustainable.
MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how does the budget provide support to local businesses more generally?