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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2026 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

financial position report. You will see that the excuse given was something to do with the facility manager's position.

MR WOOD: In consideration of your vast experience in housing and your deep interest, Mr Stefaniak, I will certainly undertake that work. Mr Stefaniak, I will give you a compliment. I recall an occasion on which you and I attended a Christmas party at the Currong Flats-so I am well aware of your interest in the personal needs of people.

I will have a look at it. Regretfully, these are not uncommon complaints. In the time I have been minister, I have been impressed by the interest of ACT Housing in their tenants, and their determination to do the best they possibly can for the tenants.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Wood, I just had a quick search of the questions, and I could not see anything about compliments in answers to questions!

Health system

MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Stanhope. Is the minister aware of the release today of the National Report on Health Sector Performance Indicators 2001? Can the minister tell the Assembly what the report found about the ACT health system?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Gallagher. Yes, the National Report on Health Sector Performance Indicators 2001 was released today. That reveals that the ACT performed well against national indicators in a range of areas, and that there are a similar and significant number of areas which continue to be of major concern here in the ACT.

One of the major concerns raised by the report was the significant and increasing disparities in health status between high and low socio-economic groups, especially between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The data recorded in the report reinforces the view of the government that whole-of-government approaches to the issue of indigenous disadvantaged are likely to be more successful than health system approaches alone.

The report does give the ACT a positive rating in some areas but highlights areas where we need to improve our performance and undertake further research. For instance, the ACT rates well across a range of performance indicators, including death rates for injury, poisoning, asthma, and diabetes.

We have a high participation rate for cancer screening programs. We do very well on waiting times for patients in emergency departments, and the caesarean section rates in our public hospitals are the lowest in Australia.

There are, however, a number of areas for improvement. Despite our high participation rate in screening programs, we have a very high death rate from cancer. This is clearly cause for concern for us all. The ACT Department of Health and Community Care has undertaken further investigations to determine why the rate of cancer death is as high as it is in the ACT. We also have higher than national average rates of cardiovascular disease and mental disorders-both areas that could warrant significant additional study.

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