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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2911 ..


their promise. The $800 million investment into the Canberra Hospital that was promised by the Labor government at the 2012 election—they took it out. We said, “Why aren’t you going to do this and what is the plan?” Mr Corbell, who was by then the health minister, said that they were going to manage extreme and high-risk infrastructure; they were not going to be investing in the Canberra Hospital.

They did a temporary rebuild of the emergency department, which was described by the emergency department director at the time as a bandaid fix, I think, and involved significant compromise, and they wasted another four years. Another four years went by of broken promises, of putting money in the budget and of taking money out of the budget. I am sure it is just a coincidence that the $375 million that was meant to rebuild the Canberra Hospital was exactly the same amount to the dollar that was then put into the first availability payment for the tram. That was the decision that this government made.

What then happened is that the Canberra Liberals announced that we would rebuild the Canberra Hospital. We basically took the plan that had been promised back in 2011-12 and said, “No, it does need to be done.” That was announced by us at the 2016 election. We said that we would do it. The Labor Party said, “No, we’re not going to. We’re sticking by our guns. We’re not going to do it.” About 10 or 20 times they said that they would not be doing it.

They then put a pole in the field and said, “Do you think that we should have a new hospital?” On the eve of the election, what happened is that someone was told—and we know this—literally over the course of a weekend, to come up with a plan. “We’re bleeding in the polls. We need to actually say that we are going to do this. We need to backflip on the announcement about the hospital and we need to say that we are going to do something.” And they did that. In the biggest backflip, the hospital that was on again and off again and on again and off again, on the eve of the election was on again. Their election commitment is worth having a look at, Mr Assistant Speaker, because it was done on one A4 piece of paper. On one A4 piece of paper they said that they were going to do it.

Where do we find ourselves now from 2008 when the first plan was: “We’re going to buy the Calvary Public Hospital.” Their policies were: “We’re going to rebuild the Canberra Hospital; we’re not going to; we’re going to rebuild Calvary; we’re not going to.” We find ourselves in a position where, again, Mrs Jones, as the shadow health minister, is making the same points that Mrs Dunne made before her and the same points that I made before Mrs Dunne, that this is a health system in crisis. The government have done nothing to address the issues other than to break promises and fool the electorate into thinking that they are actually going to do something and then not deliver. There have been 13 years—and that is just since I have been in here—of broken promises and backflips.

I commend Mrs Jones for what she has brought before us. I think it is very important, as an Assembly, that we understand that we have a crisis, that we have these problems in our health system and that they arise directly from this government’s dithering, broken promises and failure to actually deliver the improvements at the Canberra Hospital that they promised over a decade ago. For the minister to then laud the health


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