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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 141 ..

MR STANHOPE: No, we are not. We are buying much-needed equipment for the first two years-equipment that you did not bother to buy. This is the neglect that you were guilty of: oncology equipment that is so run down that it has led to significant waiting times for radiation oncology. Currently that is an eight-week wait. Mr Humphries spoke yesterday about your legacy. We were bequeathed an eight-week waiting time. Imagine if you had been diagnosed with cancer and you presented at the Canberra Hospital for radiation oncology therapy and were told to come back in two months. That is your legacy because you neglected to purchase this much-needed equipment. We will not delay. We are purchasing it, and we will utilise it.

Mr Smyth: So, what are you reducing it to?

MR STANHOPE: We are purchasing equipment. We will purchase equipment in the first two years from the $8.7 million. We maintain our commitment to an additional $6 million of recurrent funding now and in the outyears. We will take the opportunity with the $8.7 million, which was included in the appropriation bill that my colleague the Treasurer presented yesterday, to buy this urgently needed equipment-equipment you could not be bothered to purchase.

So we have an $8.7 million immediate commitment. Money is there. It is in the bill. With your support it will pass tomorrow and we will be able to start the much-needed repair of this run-down public hospital system. We will repair the neglect. We will be able to deal with those very negative aspects of your legacy, which includes attacking that eight-week waiting time for radiation oncology at the Canberra Hospital.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary. I might make this simpler for the minister.

MR SPEAKER: Then you will kindly do that without a preamble.

MR SMYTH: In the year 2002-03 the funding is $226.7 million; the following year it is $226.2 million. Why is health funding going down under a Labor government?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth! Yesterday I warned you about preambles, and I do not want to keep doing this. The rules for supplementary questions are well known: pop up, ask the question and we will get an answer. But the preambles we can do without.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I am just following your example. I can go back through the Hansard and refresh your memory about how you behaved.

MR STANHOPE: In the election campaign the Labor Party promised to commit an immediate $6 million of additional recurrent funding to the Canberra Hospital. We have more than met that commitment. We actually legislated. Yesterday we introduced an $8.7 million appropriation bill to go immediately to the Canberra Hospital.

It is amazing to see the Liberal Party object-it is probably why they got flogged in the election-to a commitment made by this government about the health of the people of the ACT. They object to the fact that the major, the outstanding, the leading priorities this Labor government will work to meet are health and education. And here you are objecting to the fact that within four weeks of taking government we have moved to

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