Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 207 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

So, the budget for Health and Community Care over the past four years, for three of which the Chief Minister was responsible, has gone up by getting on towards $45m. This is getting more for less!

Mr Moore: Actually, that is not right.

MR KAINE: I am quoting from the Appropriations Bills, Mr Moore. Do you have a better source? These are the Government's own Appropriations Bills. While the budget has been going up by close to $45m, that is, about 15 per cent a year, what has happened to service delivery? The last time I checked, the waiting list was about the same as it was when the Chief Minister took over in 1995-96.

Mr Moore: The waiting list. That is right.

MR KAINE: In a way, I am defending you, Mr Moore. You should not be taking too much offence at what I am saying. The fact is that you inherited a poisoned chalice. You inherited a department that under three years of control by the present Chief Minister and Treasurer, who had committed herself to making departments operate within their budgets, had completely escaped. In fact, it was about the only department or agency that failed to do what the Chief Minister said they would be obliged to do.

Where is the Chief Minister now? She is not even sitting here for this debate. The fact is that she failed abysmally to deliver what she promised. Her whole attitude when she took on the health budget in 1995 was: "I'm going to fix it. We're going to do all these good things. We're going to reduce the budget. We're going to get more for less. We're going to increase the service. We're going to fix it". Where are we four years later? We are in exactly the same position as we were then and this current year the budget is blowing out again - of the order, we are told, of $10m. If that is achieved, the actual expenditure this year as against the 1995-96 budget will be closer to a 17 or 18 per cent increase per year. What has the rate of inflation been during that time? What has the Government been doing to get its costs of operation down? The answer is, obviously, nothing.

The Government is going to have a pretty hard time squirming off the hook on this one. I think that the motion is a valid one. I think that it states the case succinctly. The sad thing is that it should not be Mr Moore standing up here trying to defend it; it should be the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Where is she? She is not even in the chamber. I make my point.

MR QUINLAN (12.01): Mr Speaker, may I first congratulate Mr Stanhope on the presentation of his motion. Before I came to this place I had my own business for some years and, amongst other things, I examined other businesses. So I would like for a moment for you to put yourself in my shoes a year or so ago. Imagine a client comes along and wants you to look at a particular enterprise. What is the problem? The budget is out of control; there is a backlog of work and it is increasing; staff morale is at rock bottom; there is industrial unrest; there has been turnover at the senior management level; and the responsible board member is puddling in day-to-day management, taking it out of the hands of operating managers, even down to individual staff appointments in a business of over 1,000 people.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .