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responsive to the specific needs of client groups. Fourthly, to improve and value staff effectiveness by promoting the development, participation and contribution of our employees, including doctors. Fifthly, to improve resource management by putting in place efficient systems for both human and financial resource management, accountability, infrastructure planning and investment in health technology.

Each one of these directions represents an objective in the department's new corporate plan, which will be released shortly. Mr Speaker, I am from the school that believes that corporate plans are simply not worth the paper they are written on unless they contain meaningful and useful performance indicators and outcomes. To this end, key strategies and performance indicators are currently being finalised by the department to ensure that we can achieve these five important objectives.

I turn now to the implementation of the Andersen review. In 1994 the review by Andersen Consulting outlined broad-brush comparisons and relativities with health services in other States. The report concluded that Woden Valley Hospital's total operating costs exceeded a representative group of New South Wales and Victorian teaching hospitals by $26.5m a year for equivalent services. Our objective is clear - to achieve efficiencies and to reduce costs to a level that is comparable with other similar services nationally. As I said earlier, if we do not achieve that, then the money has to come from somewhere - community services, the environment, education.

Following the review, the department has implemented a number of initiatives. They include planning and performance improvement activities, financial management training, and information system improvements. A range of benchmarking activities have also been initiated, including the establishment of an interstate benchmarking partnership with a number of hospitals and also projects in this area, internal benchmarking projects, and improvement in information for managers about the expenditure and trends of what is happening in our hospital system. All these initiatives are designed to improve the department's approach to resource management. The key thrusts are better management of the annual budget and reducing the costs of providing ACT health services. The Andersen review also provided a general framework for further investigation of efficiency issues and broad directions for reform in Health to achieve lower costs and, importantly, to achieve better services - improvements in those sorts of areas.

Now it is time to implement the necessary changes. No longer, Mr Speaker, can we sit back and just hope that something gives, that something happens. We now have to get on with actual implementation. I have already announced that an expert team will be contracted to assist current health management in carrying out the reforms identified by the Andersen report. By contracting a small team with proven expertise in health management reform we believe that we can achieve lower costs and improved services. The team will identify areas for improvement, establish performance targets to be achieved within specific timeframes - not just in the never-never, but specific timeframes - and assist with implementing either the means of achieving these performance targets or alternative service provider arrangements. We have already sought expressions of interest from major consultancy firms and I expect the selection of a team before the end of May. Mr Speaker, that is before the end of this month. We are simply not sitting around doing nothing.

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