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Canberra Times . . Page.. 291 ..

MR MOORE (11.17): Mr Speaker, in responding to the Government's priorities for Canberra and the legislation program I think it is important that we present the picture as we understand it to be. The electorate made it very clear that it was dissatisfied with the results of the previous three years. A 20 per cent swing, in anybody's terms - in electoral terms and in political terms - is hardly something to be proud of. The people of Canberra wanted to see a change. They want to see things done differently. They do not want to see more of the same. What we can see, in some parts of the Chief Minister's ministerial statement at least, is the suggestion of doing some things differently.

I would like to start by dealing with the issue of health. I have a copy of a letter written to the Chief Minister by the TLC, in which the TLC suggests that, instead of setting up a consultancy into health, the Chief Minister should continue to allow management and the TLC to work together in order to seek reform. Whilst that may have seemed to be a very sensible way of dealing with things over the last three years, it clearly did not work. My response to the TLC, which was kind enough to send me a copy of that letter, was to say exactly that. I said in my letter that, while I encourage the Chief Minister, where possible, to work with the unions and with the TLC, it is important for her to grasp the nettle and take some different approaches.

I was delighted to listen to Mr Connolly's approach, as far as it went. Mrs Carnell's approach is very different from that of Mr Connolly. During the last Assembly, Mrs Carnell would complain about problems with hospital bed numbers, patient waiting lists and so forth, and Mr Connolly would try to respond. Now we have a situation where the Chief Minister complains about the patient waiting lists and Mr Connolly tries to respond. It seems to me that very few of us would have missed the irony of that situation. On Saturday I was walking through Woden Valley Hospital, going to visit somebody, and I heard a couple of people commenting on a Canberra Times banner. As most of us would be aware, that Canberra Times banner said something like “Chief Minister warns of more deaths” or “more possible deaths”. I do not remember the exact wording, but it gave that impression. I heard a woman saying to the man she was with, “That is a great headline to have in a hospital!”. So, I think that, whilst Mrs Carnell may get away with that for a month or so more, she will not get away with it in the next little while.

I note on page 9 of her statement that the Chief Minister has established a new Department of Health and Community Care, with responsibility for health, ageing and disability services all coming under her control. I think that approach to ageing and disability services augurs quite well. It takes into account the fact that health is not just about hospitals. Health is really about a healthier society. In the broadest sense of the term, a healthier society is about ensuring that people have equal access and are empowered to make their own decisions. Perhaps that fits in with Mrs Carnell's concept of a city-style government. I will try to come back to that, if I have time.

We were also interested to hear Mrs Carnell say that, to meet her challenge about efficiencies, her Government “will be innovative in developing and implementing strategies to increase efficiency”. She went on to explain that. She said:

Already I have asked the department to develop a program that will provide for at least 1,000 additional admissions in 1995-96.

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