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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2679 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

students who need payments from Centrelink get that payment and that the right students get the payment. There might be some other areas where they might need some data.

I am quite happy to look at some of those issues and if need be take it up with my federal counterpart. Certainly, even from what you concede in your question, the department is merely doing what it seems it has to do. That is not to say that maybe the Commonwealth procedures cannot be improved. That is something I am happy to look into and take up with my federal counterpart.

MR HARGREAVES: I thank the minister for the list of Commonwealth legislation and we will have a look at it. My supplementary question is this: since the minister's spokesman was also reported as saying colleges have been informed of the process, can the minister say when colleges were informed? Can he confirm that in fact they were informed months after the decision was made, were given no opportunity to be involved in that decision, and when they did get the opportunity to warn that the idea was seriously flawed they were simply ignored?

MR STEFANIAK: As to when and where, I have not got that information at my fingertips, Mr Hargreaves. I would need to get that for you. You can rest assured I will have a look at it. If there are improvements that can be made, either at the ACT level or at the federal level, and this is very much a federal issue-I see that Larry Anthony was having the running on it-I am happy to make suggestions to them on how they can improve.

Canberra Hospital

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, as a former medical sergeant, I was surprised and alarmed to hear some media hype this morning about the great Canberra Hospital. I wish to direct a question to Mr Moore in his capacity as minister for health. The media hype was to do with calling in the army at Canberra Hospital. There is some alarm in the community with respect to that. Minister, can you advise the Assembly on the true state of the hospital and on what the government has been doing to keep up the best possible service to the community and to the region?

MR MOORE: I thank Mr Hird for that question. I do need to dispel some of the media hype associated with this matter, particularly the sensationalism of the Canberra Times on this issue. Let me immediately dispel the nonsense caused by the media's concept of military intervention. There are not going to be any tanks, big ambulances or whatever in jungle green or khaki coming to the hospital. It appears to be a fictional reference to the fact that all of Canberra's hospitals are working cooperatively to assist the major hospital at Garran if it has a major overflow in emergency demand.

I spoke to all the hospital CEOs, including those of the smaller private hospitals, last month and I can report that there is great goodwill between them to work as a system. I use this opportunity to say thank you to the John James private hospital, the National Capital Private Hospital and the Lidia Perin private hospital, all of which were willing to do what was needed should that happen. I should also point out that others spoke to Queanbeyan and other regional hospitals as well and they were willing to be very cooperative.

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