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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 856 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Presumably, the alternatives for transportation in the ACT as far into the future as we can see are going to be either the private car or the bus. Under present circumstances, on historical evidence the private car will win every time. Yet the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services has not contemplated recommending some more efficient and effective form of public transportation, notwithstanding the nature, the urgency and the magnitude of the problem being presented to them at Gungahlin.

So I think that rather than solving anything, this report is merely going to cause further agitation and further heated debate, both in the community and in this place. I think Mr Corbell is right in that there are alternatives that this report does not, on the face of it, seem to properly, fully and comprehensively consider and deal with. The committee seems to have reached a conclusion far too easily, while discounting or discarding all of the other options as being irrelevant or meaningless.

I can see that we are in for a pretty torrid debate over the next month or two. As I say, Mr Speaker, I predict that this debate will continue in the public arena and will cause the government some concern by the time they get around to an election in eight months time. I am by no means convinced by this report. I am not satisfied that the committee considered all of the facts comprehensively. I am satisfied that they have done a lot of regurgitation of material from previous reports from as long as 10 years ago, and much of which is perhaps no longer relevant to the debate. But there is page after page of it. Frankly, I think that the report is disappointing.

MR SPEAKER: I understand it is the wish of the Assembly to suspend for lunch.

Mr Stanhope: Mr Speaker, just before we do that, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of a significant number of nursing staff who are members of the ANF and who have come here today to seek an opportunity to speak with the minister for health. I would like to take this opportunity to let the minister for health know that they are here. I know he is keen to speak with the nurses that he has been treating so contemptuously. There is an opportunity for him to speak with them today and I would like to invite him to do so.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.

Sitting suspended from 12.32 pm to 2.30 pm

Questions without notice

Canberra Hospital-nurses

MR STANHOPE: My question is to the minister for health. Minister, the nurses at Canberra Hospital have made it clear that your pay offer does not address the underlying problems at the hospital. Given that the government's supplementary budget, tabled in the Assembly this morning, includes funding for an initiative to strengthen the territory's nursing work force, why were you so reluctant to meet with nurses from Canberra Hospital who brought their concerns to the Assembly today? What will your offer do to address the excessively long shifts and the excessive overtime worked by nurses, and what will it do to retain existing nurses, let alone attract new workers to the industry?

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