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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1728 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

effectively had a winter load right through summer. This phenomenon seems to be the case right across Australia. We are looking at that. We have a winter bed strategy in place at the hospital, and we are doing our best to resolve those issues.

MR STANHOPE: I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister advise whether he is aware that one elderly patient, whose dementia makes him disruptive and difficult to care for, is to be transferred from Canberra to Goulburn because we do not have the facilities in Canberra to deal with him? Does the minister think this is appropriate?

MR MOORE: It is your assertion, Mr Stanhope, that we do not have the facilities available for this particular person in Canberra. In fact, we have a range of facilities available for people in Canberra. I emphasise again that the issue of aged persons care is actually a federal government responsibility. Nevertheless, as I have said earlier, we are prepared to lobby and to push the federal government and try to see if we can get sensible arrangements with them, and that is why we spoke to Dr Wooldridge last week and that is why we are speaking to Mrs Bishop in the coming week to try to resolve those problems.

It is disappointing when somebody does move from Canberra when they need to be taken care of, but perhaps it is worth remembering that there are incidences where some of our patients in hospitalisation circumstances move outside the ACT. For example, somebody who is a victim of burns is dealt with in the burns unit at Westmead, because that is the most appropriate place to deal with the particular thing. But we do have dementia facilities here in the ACT. Because I do not know the specifics of this particular case, Mr Stanhope, I cannot give a more specific answer than that. But if you wish to provide me with a case I am certainly happy to have it investigated.

Growth forecasts

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Humphries. I refer to claims by Mr Stanhope in his budget reply that the growth forecasts in the budget are optimistic. Can the Treasurer advise the Assembly of the comments of independent forecasters on the government's growth prospects for the coming financial year?

MR HUMPHRIES: It is true that the view has been taken by the opposition that there is excessive optimism in the government's figures for growth in the coming year. For my part, I have to say that one can never be entirely sure what will happen with growth or any other economic indicator into the future. It is a very brave person who will make cast-iron predictions about the future. All I can say with certainty is that the prospects for growth in this town would be a great deal less good if we were dealing today with an operating loss of $344 million.

MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question. Mr Humphries, noting that Mr Quinlan said on ABC radio on 2 May that he would resign if the government could prove its claim that it had inherited an operating loss of $344 million from the previous Labor government, has Mr Quinlan resigned yet?

MR SPEAKER: Order! That is out of order. It is not the Chief Minister's role to decide whether Mr Quinlan should resign from anything.

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