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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1713 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

I am concerned by the one-off application of the so-called windfall Medicare funds. We have applied about $2m to the purchase of surgical equipment. It makes one wonder what we would have done had we not done the deal, a deal that I still feel particularly uncomfortable about. It is ironic that the extra billion dollars in public health funds achieved nationally, from which we have received an extra $16m or so, was achieved for us by Bob Carr, Jeff Kennett et al. We thought that John Howard had delivered enough to the public health system. We took our bat and went home. It was only because Jeff Kennett, Bob Carr and the other Premiers stayed in the debate that we managed to drag another billion dollars out of the Commonwealth for public - - -

Mr Humphries: We did not lose out, though, did we?

MR STANHOPE: We might not have lost out, but we lost out morally. We basically took our bat home. We said, "We're all right, Jack". We were prepared to bale out and give comfort to Howard. It was only through the fact that the States knew the deal was crook that we ended up getting the extra billion dollars and the ACT received some short flow-on. There is an issue there for us. It is only through that windfall that we have been able to afford additional surgical instruments. What would we have done had we not received this flush of funds?

I do not know whether the Minister is speaking today, but there is one issue that I simply have not been able to track down. I was sure I heard that Totalcare's new sterilising equipment was purchased out of Medicare funds. I do not know whether this is within your knowledge, Minister, but I would like to know, if you can tell me, how we paid for the new sterilising equipment at Totalcare. I do not know the answer. I am pleading ignorance here. It is a question that interests me greatly.

Mr Moore: How did we pay for the new sterilising equipment?

MR STANHOPE: Yes. This is a general request. I am really intrigued to know how we paid for the new sterilising equipment at Totalcare. I thought it came out of the Medicare funds. Something flashed through my mind. I wonder how Totalcare accounted for that. Was it a profit or loss, or how did they account for that?

I have some genuine concerns about the new approach to the provision of out-of-hours hospice care. This was an issue that was raised in the Estimates Committee by Mr Corbell.

Mr Moore: It is going very well, Jon.

MR STANHOPE: I have a different view of that, Minister.

Mr Moore: I am sure you do.

MR STANHOPE: I do, but I put it on the table. I wait with great interest for the response the Government gets from the Commonwealth on what they are going to do about the provision of a new hospice. I understand that there is a possibility that the hospice will remain on Acton Peninsula - - -

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