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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2160 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

because it is really they who have achieved this turnabout. The reduction in our waiting lists stands in stark contrast to the appalling blow-out in waiting lists which occurred over the previous four years before we took government. Under the previous Labor Government, waiting lists went from 1,789 in July 1991 to a record of 4,569 in February 1995. That is a 150 per cent increase in less than four years, Mr Speaker, compared with an almost 10 per cent decrease over the last 15 months. Last week, we had the extraordinary admission from the former Minister for Health that he had not even bothered to ask how many operations had been conducted when he was Minister, despite the dramatic blow-out in waiting lists.

Mr Speaker, this is about putting the focus firmly on the patient. I can guarantee that now we do ask how many operations are being done at Woden Valley Hospital and Calvary Hospital. Certainly, these extra operations have come at a price to the health budget; but I make no apology for making the treatment of more patients and reducing waiting lists a top priority. Obviously, the budget has to be a top priority as well. We are not just talking about numbers here, though, Mr Speaker; we are talking about people who desperately need surgery. Some people need that surgery very urgently. I think it is a major achievement that we are meeting the needs of more and more people in Canberra and that this Government is actually bringing down waiting lists by 10 per cent in 15 months, compared to a 150 per cent increase over the previous four years.

City Services - Jobs

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I have a question without notice to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Urban Services, if that remains part of his shrinking portfolio. I hope that he will not try to fob it off to somebody else. Minister, yesterday, at Macarthur House, a number of affected unions were briefed by a representative of Coopers and Lybrand and by an officer of the Department of Urban Services on proposals to privatise all or part of City Services. At the meeting references were made to a report from Coopers and Lybrand which is due to be submitted to the Government in a couple of weeks' time. Will you explain to the Assembly the proposals in this report and what the Government intends to do about them? Will you confirm or deny whether one of the options in that report is that 20 per cent of all employees in City Services will lose their jobs? We are growing used to your attitude. Is this another example of your Government's commitment to jobs?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Follett for her question. If I understood Ms Follett correctly, she mentioned that this is a report that the Government has yet to receive. That being the case, Mr Speaker, as soon as I see that report, I will look at it and then answer Ms Follett's question.

MS FOLLETT: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Given that the unions have been privy to this document and that, clearly, the Department of Urban Services is also privy to the document, and given that the Assembly will not be sitting for some weeks after it gets up tomorrow, will you table today draft reports Nos 1 and 2 that were discussed at yesterday's meeting, as well as all the slides and overheads that were used during the discussions with the unions? If not, why not?

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