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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2998 ..


DR PATERSON: A supplementary.

MADAM SPEAKER: Dr Paterson.

DR PATERSON: Chief Minister, can you please detail the important role that small business plays in the ACT?

MR BARR: Nearly 30,000 small businesses account for employment in the territory, which would be slightly more than 25 per cent of all employment in the ACT. There are larger employers: the federal government, the ACT government, the universities, medium-size business and the large Australian employers. But across more than 30,000 businesses, and growing each and every month, we see more diversity in the ACT economy and we see, increasingly, small businesses who have a vision and a view beyond just the Canberra market. That is where growth will come in future. Any city, any economy, that just wants to buy and sell goods and services to itself will not be able to grow rapidly.

That is why it is important that we have a focus on national and international markets—because, whilst the ACT is two per cent of the Australian economy, Australia is two per cent of the world economy. The bigger markets clearly are national and international. That is why next week’s ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards are such an important opportunity to celebrate the success of many small and medium-size businesses who are tapping into export markets, including businesses that have served this city and this nation—and, indeed, the world—so well during the pandemic, including a previous exporter of the year, Aspen Medical.

Hospitals—waiting times

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health: you are the sixth health minister in the last 20 years of the Labor-Greens government, after Stanhope, Corbell, Gallagher, Corbell, Fitzharris. For most of the last 20 years, the ACT has had the worst-performing emergency department times in Australia. On 31 January 2021 you committed to fixing the ACT’s ED wait times in nine months. Nine months is now. In Wednesday’s budget, however, it was disclosed that the outcome for the 2020-21 year was 46 per of ED patients seen on time, 24 per cent below your own target of 70 per cent. Minister, who is responsible for the failure to meet your own 70 per cent promise on ED waiting times?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Probably a couple of points of clarification for Mrs Jones that are directly relevant to her question. She keeps repeating this so-called commitment in relation to waiting times. When I was talking to the journalist—and I have corrected this with her a number of times—I was actually talking about the number of people who are in the emergency department for four hours or more, what is called the NEAT. That was the number we were focused on, because that is a number that reflects what we know in relation to increased potential for mortality and morbidity if people spend a long time in the emergency department. So Mrs Jones can say it has many times as she likes, but she is completely misrepresenting and continues to do so.


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