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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2470 ..

Mr Quinlan: This is misinformation, which he was talking about earlier today.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, it is not. Your party opened up competition by agreeing to the national competition principles agreement. Your party opened that up. The consequence is that we now have to accept competition for ACTEW.

Mr Corbell: Will the wires be a natural monopoly?

Mr Quinlan: A perpetual act of misinformation.

MR HUMPHRIES: You can shout me down all you like, Mr Corbell, and you can shout me down all you like, Mr Quinlan, but it is not going to change the fact that these are realities in our marketplace, affecting us now as far as commercial suppliers are concerned and in the very near future as far as residential suppliers are concerned. I am concerned to make sure that, while we have value in an asset, we can turn it to the advantage of the people of this Territory. I, as a member of the Government, will act to protect that asset. Mr Speaker, the community will be grateful, I think, if in the long term we are able to protect the value of the asset to meet oncoming liabilities.

MR HIRD: Minister, I heard you talk about superannuation and ACTEW. A lot has been said about it. My supplementary question is about the large amount of superannuation debt which has accrued over a number of years. Has the Opposition come up with any solid idea as to how this debt can be met, or is it just a lot of talk and no action? Is it the fact that the Government is acting according to the only avenue that it can take?

MR SPEAKER: The question is out of order, because the matter does not fall within the Minister's portfolio responsibility. You may be saddened, but that happens to be the truth.

Mr Humphries: I ask that any further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Calvary Hospital

MR MOORE: Yesterday Mr Hargreaves asked me a question about Calvary Hospital. It had nothing to do with the fact that we had no superannuation liability at the beginning of self-government and that it was created by those opposite. He asked whether I could find out how many public beds had closed at Calvary Hospital and whether the decrease in public beds was equal to the increase in private beds. I think that was the nub of the question.

The answer is as follows: Calvary has 50 medical beds within the total of 162 public beds. Since December 1997, Calvary has varied the number of medical beds actually in use, in line with demand. At present they are using 36 of the nominal 50. A number of the beds not being used by the public hospital are used by the private hospital for overflow admissions, but there is no matching of public beds closing to private ones opening.

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