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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1934 ..

MR SPEAKER: I call the Minister.

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, notwithstanding any way the Opposition asks this question, the answer is the same: This Government had no part whatsoever in the process of allocating the tender. Rightly, this Government should have no part in the process. The Government is quite happy to have the process looked at by the Auditor-General. This Government and this Minister knew not who was bidding; it did not know how much the bid was; it did not know anything about the thing; and quite rightly so. I am quite happy in the future to have hands-on involvement in all tenders, but I am sure that other members of the Assembly would have great concern if any Minister had anything to do with the proper process. Proper process was followed. Proper process will continue to be followed. If it was not followed, the Auditor-General will say so.

Woden Valley Hospital - Appointment of Chief Executive

MR KAINE: I address a question to the Chief Minister and Minister for Health and Community Care. I note that a new chief executive has been selected for Woden Valley Hospital. Can you tell us the process by which this selection was made and satisfy the Assembly as to the credentials of the person selected?

MRS CARNELL: I thank Mr Kaine for this question. Members will know that Woden Valley Hospital is one of Australia's major teaching facilities. Certainly, we plan for it to be one. It is also the most expensive and, in many areas, the least efficient. It is a hospital that spends more than $180m each year to treat fewer than 40,000 patients in its beds, and sees thousands more in accident and emergency and outpatient services. Earlier this year the current general manager, Glen Gaskill, advised me that he believed that a specialist hospital administrator was needed to manage the enormous changes that Woden needs to undergo. A nationwide search was carried out to find a top health manager with the right credentials for what is widely touted to be the toughest and most challenging job going in Australian health circles today. I must say that I was somewhat surprised to find that the position attracted a large and very impressive field of candidates.

After an exhaustive merit selection process, Allan Hughes was chosen as the new chief executive of Woden Valley Hospital. Mr Hughes has been chief executive of the Victorian Hospitals Association for the past decade. He brings to his new job more than 25 years of experience in health administration, including management of major hospitals and a senior health position in the Victorian Government. His experience has also seen his appointment as Federal President of the Australian College of Health Service Executives. Mr Hughes has agreed to come to Canberra on a performance-based contract and help to turn around Woden Valley Hospital's appalling financial record. The contract will contain the requirement for real and measurable outcomes.

I have heard the usual criticism from Mr Connolly today about paying senior executives far too much money. I am happy to answer him in this way: First, to achieve the necessary reforms at Woden Valley Hospital will require the commitment and experience possessed by very few senior executives in this field. I think we have seen that in the past.

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