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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1076 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

"This is terrible. You have a clever, caring capital in the middle, but you have left out the environment". No, Ms Tucker, we did not leave out the environment. The paper refers to a healthy, safe, diverse and contributing community. When you turn the page you see "outcomes" and "impact". It says, "A Healthy, Safe, Diverse and Contributing Community". What is a fundamental tenet of that? Of course, the environment.

Ms Tucker and I, over a number of years, have had this particular debate. Her global view is that the environment is the most important fundamental; everything fits into that. I have debated with her and said, "We actually come to a similar sort of conclusion on many issues; but, as far as I am concerned, I want a healthy society". That is more than just about sickness care; it is about a society that is constructed with appropriate education levels, participation, work and life expectancy. All those things come into a healthy society. We set those out as measures of success on page 6 of that budget paper. If Ms Tucker had managed to turn over the page she would have seen that. If you want a healthy society, of course you have to have a sustainable environment, and that is a sensible, rational way to deal with it, and a much more effective way than that suggested by Ms Tucker. It is a slight difference of opinion, but I would not object when she says we need a good environment and that would include good health. The opposite is also true, and I must say that, to me, it is a much more rational way of looking at things.

In building the environment of a decent appropriate budget, we set out to ensure that we did have a clever, caring capital. The Chief Minister, in introducing the budget, began her speech in that way. I am the very fortunate one who takes a large part of the caring section of the budget, and that is because I have the responsibility for Health and Community Care. There are lots of other caring sections in the budget as well, and, of course, I get some of the clever parts as well. I am lucky. I had to work for them, but I finally got them.

What has happened in the community care budget for 1998 is that we have combined realistic and achievable financial targets with a modest range of reforms to achieve a more integrated, coordinated, accessible and responsive health system. The budget now continues the reform agenda of building up community and home-based services and support, both to achieve better patient and consumer outcomes and as a more cost-effective alternative to hospital services. Ms Tucker and others asked: Where are the expenditures that are not on the acute side of the budget? I am saying to them, and I will say it again and again, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that what we are doing is moving to ensure that we provide appropriate services in the community when it is appropriate to provide those services in the community.

At the same time, this health budget that I am now talking about, in particular, contributed to a further development of a strong, sustainable, public health system, with a particular focus on emergency and tertiary services, and we will continue that. I, along with my colleagues here in the Government, am committed to developing a dynamic, sustainable economy, including measures to tackle the current operating deficit, and the health portfolio is not exempt from dealing with those measures.

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