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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 231 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Mr Kaine used some figures this morning - he did not accept that we had done any of those things, but we have done those things - and suggested that it has come at a huge cost. He suggested that the increases in appropriation for health every year have shown that we are spending heaps more on health.

Mr Speaker, I was very surprised that Mr Kaine made those comments, because Mr Kaine knows perfectly well that first and foremost you cannot compare a cash appropriation with an accrual appropriation, which he managed to do this morning. Also, I think, Mr Kaine would have known very well that one of the two-year periods he spoke about was the year that we included capital injections into the budget that went with health. That is not to mention areas such as insurable risk, which moved to the department - I think that was $4.3m - and the superannuation costs that moved to the appropriation levels. Mr Kaine knows it perfectly well from being part of the budget deliberations and also from being in our party room during those few years and being an accountant.

The facts are that Health has been under enormous budgetary pressure. Health has not ended up with heaps more dollars. There have been significant savings. The vast percentage - in fact, almost all - of the Booz Allen recommendations have been implemented, Mr Speaker. As I said earlier, there has been some $18m worth of savings from those, I think, in many cases, very difficult policy changes. But what has happened to those dollars? They have been ploughed back into patient care. If this Assembly wants to argue that that money should not have been spent on patients, should not have been spent on more cost-weighted separations, should not have been spent on the rather large and rather long list of initiatives and better patient care, then I think that is what members should say, rather than make a gratuitous attack on Mr Moore or me.

The facts speak for themselves. Over the last few years, health in the ACT has improved significantly. In the first term of this Government, waiting lists were reduced by 26 per cent. Yes, there is a problem at the moment, Mr Speaker; but Mr Moore is addressing the problem. Members of this Assembly can only support this motion if they believe that Mr Moore is doing worse than the previous Labor Government did or is having problems that are dissimilar from the problems facing other Health Ministers, Labor and Liberal, right around this country. If they cannot say that, then they simply cannot support the motion. The facts are that the problems we have got here are the same as those in New South Wales and Victoria, and I have to say that our situation is significantly better than the mess created under the previous Labor Government.

MR BERRY (3.35): Mr Speaker, I was drawn to speak in this matter by the Chief Minister's apparent refusal to address the motion before the house, rather attempting to justify her position of support for Mr Moore on the basis of her critique of Labor's years of government. Let us not forget that it was this Chief Minister who said that accrual accounting was going to fix everything. Of course, she was trying to compare the years of cash accounting with the years of accrual accounting, which was going to result in such a perfect outcome for the Territory. The fact of the matter is that under the prior system she was a great critic of Labor's performance in government, and

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