Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 273 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
the people with cancer in this town get the care that they need. Mrs Cross thinks it is funny that people with cancer are not getting the care that they need. Just accept that what we have done is met our commitment to a $6 million boost to the Canberra Hospital's recurrent funding, and we will be providing this year an additional $2.7 million over and above that to buy vital equipment for radiation oncology, and we will be repeating the dose next year. Because we are responsible, we said that we would not persist beyond that because of the way in which you have run down the books in the ACT, more of which we will hear over the next few weeks.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (5.48), in reply: This is the second appropriation bill for the current financial year and, as everybody is aware, there will be a third. This one was put together as a minimalist bill, covering those things that we anticipated the Assembly would have no problem with and would recognise as commitments that, in large part, had already been made by the previous government and accepted by us. I would like to thank the Assembly for the rapid passage of this bill. It is a commonsense outcome.
If I could just make some reference to the so-called $2.7 million cut. At the death knell, just before the election, the Liberal government did say that it would give another $2.7 million. It was not provided for, as Mr Humphries massaged the terminology; there was just a commitment made. It was a commitment made based on a revelation that there had been cost overruns at the hospital, which we put down to lousy management on the part of the Liberal government at the time, even though the now departed Health Minister was claiming that there had been something like a 10 per cent increase in hospital funding, which was also totally misleading. We rather thought that it would be sensible not to allow that increase in money indefinitely, but to put that money in for at least 18 months; so we have put in $5.2 million over our $6 million per year in order that we can take a look at the cost levels. Yes, that $2.7 million is not committed to go beyond the next couple of years. That is because we may be able to clean up some of the mess you left.
I hear Mr Smyth going on with stuff about six and six making six; I do not know how. If you look in there, Mr Smyth, you will find $14 million or so. The standard modus operandi of the other side, which does not do members opposite a lot of credit, is, even though it is not correct and even though it is misinforming the public, to keep chanting about cuts.
Mr Humphries: You would never have done that, would you, Ted?
MR QUINLAN: Not to the extent that you would, Gary, but I have a bit more self-respect, I have to say.
Mention was made of a looming deficit and of looking for a deficit. Mr Humphries made the analogy that if you lose your job, you do not go out and buy a car. I know that Mr Humphries did not show a lot of enthusiasm for the role of Treasurer, but if he had listened to what was being said, he would have been hearing that we look like taking a hit this year. We have not lost our job; we have just lost some of our wealth. This is going to happen once, but it does serve to remind us how little you blokes over there understand about financial management. I would have to say that I have observed so