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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1065 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

particularly complex services that they may seek separately from the Canberra Hospital - not the ordinary, run-of-the-mill services, but more complex ones. If that is the case, they would need to negotiate with the pathology section of the Canberra Hospital.

I am very comfortable that Calvary has the right and prerogative to do that. I am sure, because I have spoken to Mr Dyer about it, that they will not just look at pathology services in isolation, but will make sure that they can deliver the full service, if they have to, by this tendering process. All our tendering processes have to take into account quality as well as cost because our highest priority is patient care, care for our clients, care for our customers. That is our highest priority in health and that is the highest priority for Calvary Hospital as well.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Corbell?

MR CORBELL: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you say whether the Calvary pathology contract represents, in fact, the thin end of the wedge in terms of contracting out, indicating the Government's determination or decision to privatise specialist medical services currently undertaken by public providers?

MR MOORE: Calvary Hospital is both a public hospital and a private hospital. They carry out pathology services in both their private capacity and their public capacity. I emphasise once again that our priority is the care of our patients, the care of our clients, the care of our customers, and it will remain that way. If we can wind up getting a better service from an organisation, whatever the organisation, for our patients, for our clients, for our customers, I have no ideological objection to that. There is no broad commitment to privatise anything. What we are concerned about is ensuring that our pathology services and all our hospital services are benchmarked as well as we can so that we can determine when we put in extra money - and we are happy to put in extra money and we do put in extra money above the benchmark - that we are getting for it better patient care, better client care, better customer care, because that is our priority.

Privatisation of Legal Services

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Justice and Community Safety, Mr Humphries. I refer the Minister to a media release of 1 April this year of the shadow Minister for Justice and Community Safety, Mr Jon Stanhope, in which he raises the spectre of a secret plan by the ACT Government to privatise legal services in the ACT, and ask: Is there such a plan and has it been a secret hitherto?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Hird for that question. Mr Speaker, I have been accused in the past of not having a sense of humour; so, if Mr Stanhope's press release of 1 April was meant to be an April Fools' Day joke, I apologise for not getting the joke.

Mr Stanhope: It was not.

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