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MR CONNOLLY (3.45): I can assure the Chief Minister that members on this side are very interested and are keen to be involved in what is the most difficult issue of public policy that will ever face ACT governments, and that is the financing and provision of health services. I think that has never been an issue that is in question. Indeed, we are so keen to be involved that we keep seeking information. We want to know the basis of your claim that you have settled the doctors dispute and saved $2m. We have repeatedly asked to see the schedules which exist. I know that they exist. I saw, when I was Minister, a breakdown of how we purchased VMO services up until we left office. I would like to see that list and I would like to compare it with the list of contracts that Mrs Carnell has achieved, or claims to be achieving, or hopes to achieve. As I said early on, if she can document a $2m saving I would say, “Well done, but not far enough”, because it is well off what Andersen says must be achieved. To date we have not had any information like that; we have just had lots of good intentions.

In relation to this statement, which is to be welcomed, it may allow us to put to rest something of a phoney war that has been going on about the issue of casemix. I would at the outset, though, make reference to what Mrs Carnell said at page 5 of her statement - I am pleased that she did so - about what has been done to date in implementing the Andersen review. In a flourish of rhetoric in a question time last week, or it may have been in a debate after question time, Mrs Carnell said, “and the Government opposite that does nothing did absolutely nothing to implement the Andersen review”, which is nonsense. She would know it to be nonsense if she thinks about it. Her statement at page 5, where she lists what had been done in that first year, which is in the order of the way it should have been done, puts the lie to any claim that we did nothing to implement the Andersen review. We did, and I am glad that Mrs Carnell lists that there.

I said that this statement may provide an opportunity to end something of a phoney war because I was pleased to read Mrs Carnell's statements here about casemix. I particularly sidelined my copy of the speech and I said, “Hey, come again”, when she read this statement on page 8:

A shortcoming associated with the implementation of casemix in other States is that casemix has been primarily a tool for funding hospitals.

Indeed. That has been the basis of our criticism. Casemix as a funder can lead to disastrous consequences. She then says, a couple of lines down:

Casemix information is a tool we can use to evaluate the need for care at different stages of a patient's treatment, and see that it is provided as efficiently as possible.

Indeed; we fully support you in that statement. That is why we spent money over the years to get the system up. I see in Professor Hindle's paper, although I have been able only to scan it, that he says, “The ACT has not spent as much as some other States”, and there are a few reasons for that. He makes the point that we started later than others. We started in late 1991. Presumably, that is a criticism that we should have started earlier. I would remind members that we came to power again in only mid-1991. If there is a criticism that we started late on funding casemix, it is because decisions were not

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