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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3770 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

"I think there will be an awful lot of similarities, that's inevitable," Mr Stanhope said. "In terms of the delivery of services the Labor Party aspires, as does the Liberal Party, to deliver a pre-eminent service."

Funding and management of the Canberra Hospital looks set to become an election battleground, with Mr Stanhope describing the hospital and its role in service delivery as "pivotal" issues in the coming months. Labor would look at "intractable" problems of service delivery around Canberra.

Mr Moore said he did not expect Labor would try to reform the system. "It would surprise me to see a significant change of direction of Labor in health," Mr Moore said.

He identified Aboriginal health as one of the Government's big challenges in the lead-up to the election, saying, "Nobody has put such a significant increase in funding into disabilities as the current Government."

Mr Moore also defended the Government's focus on encouraging Canberra Hospital patients to use their private health insurance, saying private funds would boost the public system.

Mr Stanhope said a Labor government would be more conscious of the inequalities created when some people could afford to pay for treatment while others had to wait.

Labor still had nine months to finalise its policies before the election.

MR MOORE: Quite a range of things have been done to improve services for people approaching the hospital for their general health and to help reduce pressure on the hospital. I hope that whoever takes over this task from me will be able to continue that work in getting a coordinated approach between government and opposition. That will enhance the process.

Drag racing

MR BERRY: My question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as minister for sport. Last week the minister advised the Assembly that he had agreed to spend $40,000 on a study into the economic benefits and siting of a new drag strip in the ACT that is to replace the drag strip that disappeared because of the inactivity of the government when they failed to settle the lease arrangements in favour of the airport owners out there in a secret deal. Members are probably curious about the economic effects of the drag strip as it was then reported. It was something like a couple of million dollars a year loss to the territory when the government failed to do its job.

MR SPEAKER: Would you mind asking your question?

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: is there a question in this? He rambles, as he always does. It is hard to understand where we are going.

MR SPEAKER: I think he is asking about the $40 million a year. Ask your question please, Mr Berry.

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