Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 644 ..
MR MOORE: It is similar to the question that Mr Stanhope asked. But let me say that the most important thing to us is good morale and working with the people. I answered a question yesterday about Dr Bates. I think it is important to say that there are many really good VMOs, who do great work in our hospitals and who really care for their patients. I hope that people do not draw any conclusions otherwise.
I will use this opportunity, if I may, Mr Speaker, to correct a slight error that I made in the Assembly yesterday. I said that Dr Bates earned $230,000 in the previous year. In fact, it was $245,000. I double-checked the figure. I did want to take that opportunity to correct the figure, and I apologise to members for that slight miscalculation. Members probably wonder what is the difference between $230,000 and $245,000. My guess is that none of us will ever actually know what that feels like, and not many people in Canberra would know what the difference is in terms of earning ability either.
I have been distracted. I had better come back to your question. I am not prepared to give any guarantees about how we are going to do our employing, other than to say that VMOs fulfil an important role in certain areas of the hospital. Salaried specialists provide an important role as well. Our decisions will be made taking account of what is in the best interests of the patients as we perceive it and how best we can work within the hospital budget.
MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Smyth. Is the Minister aware of the comments made by the member for Brindabella, Mr Hargreaves, suggesting that there should be no more residential development in Tuggeranong, and can the Minister inform the parliament what effect this would have on the economy of Tuggeranong and, indeed, of Canberra in general?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question, which is a very important question for the people of Tuggeranong and, indeed, of all of Canberra. I am aware of Mr Hargreaves's call for no further development in Tuggeranong. I must say that I am somewhat surprised. To say "That is it; no more" would have a very serious impact on both the valley and Canberra itself. What would it mean to Canberra, Mr Speaker? To start with, if we ceased development in Tuggeranong, everybody's rates would go up. They would have to go up. Why, Mr Speaker? Because, when Tuggeranong was planned, infrastructure such as roads, schools, land for shops and so on was built, based on a certain population usage. What happens if we do not meet that population? Mr Speaker, the infrastructure would be underutilised; schools would not be viable; local shopping centres may no longer be viable; and roads and schools would have to be built somewhere else, at an unnecessary cost to the community. These people, who could not then buy the house of their dreams in Tuggeranong, would have to go somewhere else, Mr Speaker.