Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 717 ..
MS McRAE: My question is to the Chief Minister in her capacity as Minister for Health and Community Care. Chief Minister, noting that new nursing home costs stand at about $28,000 per bed, including capital costs; that the average going rate for existing nursing homes is approximately $18,000 per bed; that Jeff Kennett's bargain basement price is $10,000 to $14,000 per bed; but that in the ACT the give-away price is $2,188 per bed, I ask: Is this another example of how you treat the taxpayers' money, in line with the CRA give-away of $11m dollars?
MR SPEAKER: Order! The Minister cannot hear the question.
Mr Humphries: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With great respect, I believe that this question, in other language, was asked in the last sitting period. As I understand it, the question is - - -
MS McRAE: If you would let me finish asking the question you would find that out, Mr Humphries. My question is: How do you seek to overcome a $13m health budget blow-out by giving away ACT assets?
MRS CARNELL: It is extremely interesting that you should say that, because Jindalee Nursing Home was costing us $600,000 a year. Simply by removing the loss we actually improve our budget situation. So, there you go, Ms McRae. We put the sale of Jindalee out to open tender, as I explained to this Assembly in the last sitting. The bid by Johnson Village Services was by far the best, both financially and in quality terms. I understand that over the next 12 months or so they are planning to spend some $700,000 refurbishing the site. As I also explained in the last sitting - unfortunately, Ms McRae obviously was not listening terribly well - the reason why the price of Jindalee appears to be low is that there is an undertaking from Johnson Village Services that the gap between what the Commonwealth pays State-owned nursing homes per patient and the amount that it pays for private sector nursing home beds, which is a very big difference, will be absorbed by Johnson Village Services. Therefore, the ACT Government ends up without that potential liability, without the $600,000 loss that Jindalee was making. I must admit, though, that that was not as bad as a $3m loss that Jindalee was making at one stage, but it was still a quite definite loss in our budget situation.
As well as that, we can now be confident that the Commonwealth quality standards can be reached. I understand that Johnson Village Services have some 435 hostel and nursing home beds elsewhere in New South Wales, all of which meet 31 of the 31 quality standards.