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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 255 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

together with them to make sure we get the best possible health system and the best possible hospital for the Canberra community. Certainly, when I say the Canberra community, Mr Kaine's amendment enhances our attempt to do that.

MR RUGENDYKE (4.53): I will speak to the lot, Mr Deputy Speaker. There is no doubt that the hospital system has had more than its share of problems in recent times and that these have been well canvassed in the chamber today. We are aware of them and we would all like to see them smoothed out. I certainly do have concerns and I certainly believe that there have to be improvements. This is why I instigated an inquiry into hospital waiting lists last year. The purpose of setting up an inquiry into public hospital waiting lists was to try to obtain some concrete answers.

Elective surgery waiting lists at Canberra and Calvary hospitals have never been so high, and there is also a priority to address clearance times. The ACT has a poor national rating in this area and that has to be analysed. The community is experiencing delays in surgical and non-surgical waiting lists, and people want to know why this is the case and how it can be fixed. When I proposed the inquiry into waiting lists it was with a view to coming up with a cooperative approach to having a positive impact on this ongoing issue, and in a collaborative way.

As I said, Mr Deputy Speaker, I do have concerns. The Health Minister is in a difficult position and he has had a series of difficult issues to contend with in less than 12 months in the job. I have always been prepared to give Mr Moore every opportunity to prove himself as Health Minister and to give him a fair go. He took over this ministry at a sensitive time and inherited a great deal of baggage. It would be unfair to say that he has caused all of the problems, but, in saying that, I certainly expect to see some improvements in his second year. Mr Deputy Speaker, we are all keeping a close eye on his progress and the issues within the hospital system.

Mr Osborne: Come and sit here. Come on. There's a seat up there next to Harold.


MR RUGENDYKE: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Mr Osborne thinks I need to speak quicker and I am trying to. Mr Deputy Speaker, I do have concerns, as I said, but they are not to the extent of being as grave as suggested by Mr Stanhope's original motion. However, I am pleased that the issues have been raised in this debate and I will support Mr Smyth's amendment.

Mr Kaine: And mine.

MR RUGENDYKE: And Mr Kaine's amendment.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Osborne, you have a free rein.

MR OSBORNE (4.55): Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

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