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MR BERRY: Okay. We want that one. You could have just said yes. Minister, you seem to have embraced with glee the Booz Allen recommendation that you abandon the promise to open 50 new beds at the hospital. Mind you, the hospital is described in the Booz Allen report as “Wooden Valley Hospital” - a quality report! Also, this is the report that describes the Clinical School as the “Clerical School”. They are on top of it, that lot!
MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, I remind you that under standing order 117(b)(vi) ironic expressions are not allowed in questions. Would you mind going on.
MR BERRY: I note that you are now waxing lyrical about the real test of a hospital being efficiency, numbers of people treated and the like. I seem to recall you saying, “We treat people, not beds”. Given that you are now saying exactly the same thing as Labor Health Ministers, are you prepared to admit that your election claim about additional beds was just a plain fraud on the electorate?
MRS CARNELL: What the Booz Allen report says is that the proposed expansion of 50 acute care beds is probably not required, to quote them exactly, given better utilisation of current beds. What we have said quite categorically is that that does not mean that we will not open new beds. In fact we will, if that is what we need to see the 600 to 1,000 extra patients that we will see this year, unlike Mr Connolly and Mr Berry over the last three years. I will quote. Mr Berry in 1992-93 spent $254m on health, treated 56,800 patients and had 1,879 people waiting on the waiting lists. By 1994-95 the amount of money had gone up by more than $20m to $276m, the number of patients treated had fallen to 55,957, and the number on the waiting lists had more than doubled to 4,416. That will not be what happens. We will be treating more patients - a minimum of 600 more this year. We are putting money aside, out of the savings that we plan to make in efficiencies, to treat more patients.
North Watson Development
MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I address a question to the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. Minister, can you tell us what is the current situation with regard to the projects in the ACT that are being funded under the Commonwealth's better cities program? Specifically, does the inclusion of infrastructure funding in this year's capital works program indicate that North Watson will be going ahead as planned?
MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Kaine for that question. I also noticed some comments about this in the report on the capital works program released by the Planning and Environment Committee. Mr Speaker, it is no secret that this Government has been unhappy with the direction being taken by the North Watson development prior to recent events. We indicated that we were concerned about a number of aspects of that, including the question of providing for a large infusion of additional residential land in the ACT in North Watson. As a result, some time ago I wrote to the Minister for Housing and Regional Development in the Commonwealth Government and asked for some capacity to reconsider the element of Commonwealth contribution through the better cities program that committed the ACT to the North Watson development. I argued that