Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 2502 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
we have now addressed two of the major issues that we came into government to address. One was the operating loss, the financial shambles, that those opposite left for this Territory.
Mr Quinlan: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Standing order 118(b) states that an answer to a question without notice shall not debate the subject to which the question refers.
MS CARNELL: I am not debating the question. I am answering the question. I will come back to it, Mr Speaker. The reason was not that we were trying to save money, as Mr Corbell said. We needed to reorganise because we had addressed the financial shambles and management mess that those opposite left the ACT in, and therefore we felt that it was an appropriate time to move Treasury and Infrastructure out of the Chief Minister's Department and to move a new strategic planning area into Chief Minister's to have a more definite focus on things like information technology, advanced technology, education and producing the outcomes we should be getting for the significant dollars we spend on health.
Today Mr Moore and I had a meeting with some of the nurses. We asked the nurses whether they believed we were getting 30 per cent better outcomes in our hospital system for the extra dollars that we put in. We spend 30 per cent more than the national average. Do we have a system at our hospital that is 30 per cent better? What did they say? They said no. They said it was a good system but that that probably did not quite reflect in the outcomes. We have changed to make sure that the people of Canberra get value for their money; that we move from a focus on financial capital to social capital.
MS TUCKER: My question to the Minister for Urban Services relates to the Totalcare incinerator at Mitchell. Minister, you would be aware that last week Greenpeace released documents obtained from Totalcare that showed problems with the incinerator, including frequent breakdowns, overloading and breaches of OH&S rules. In response, Totalcare has stated that it has commissioned a consultant to undertake a review of all aspects of the facility's management. Could you tell us why Totalcare has been left to handle this by itself? Why did the Environment Management Authority not order an environmental audit of the incinerator as it is able to do under the Environment Protection Act? Why do we have an Environment Management Authority if it is not prepared to take action to correct breaches of environmental authorisations?
MR SMYTH: That is a good question, but Ms Tucker ignores the process. The Environment Management Authority were conducting the annual review, as they are required to do. They found some things that they were not happy with. They wrote a letter to Totalcare asking them to address those issues. It is curious that almost every time we have approached Totalcare they have responded quite positively. When we approached them about dioxins, they said they would spend up to $1m to meet a standard that is in place in Germany and nowhere else in the world. They have gone to the world's best practice.