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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2439 ..

Opposition members interjecting-

MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition, please hold yourselves back. Chief Minister, please wind up.

MR STANHOPE: I am winding up. You have reinvented the precedent that you established with Bruce Stadium. When you ran out of money, when you got into electoral strife, when you knew that you could not afford it, you spent it without appropriation. That is what you did. You breached the Financial Management Act, you breached the self-government act, you spent money that was not appropriated and here we have you doing it again. The $7 million allocated to the land development program is revenue forgone. You are not prepared to appropriate it. You are pretending that it is money for use. What are you going to do? Are you going to break the law again?

Mr Smyth: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The minister keeps reiterating it is revenue forgone, yet the Hansard for the estimates process says, "Yes, that's right, the cash is in there." There is cash according to the minister himself.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth, resume your seat.

Hospital waiting lists

MRS CROSS: My question is to Mr Stanhope in his capacity as Minister for Health. Mr Stanhope, during Estimates Committee hearings you told the committee that the waiting list was "perhaps the lowest it's been for some years". Your departmental head, Dr Gregory, backed you up to a certain extent, saying, "It might not be the lowest end of month figure, but it has been cycling down for the last little while." However, as we all know now, waiting lists are at the highest they have been for two years at 4,050 and are set to go up. Can you please inform members whether you are now able to differentiate between up and down?

MR STANHOPE: The fortunes of this government are on the increase and the fortunes of your rabble are in serious decline and I think that they will stay that way for some time to come. I just made the point, and I will repeat it, that waiting lists as at the end of July are less than they were in your heyday two years ago, just two years ago. Despite the increase in population and despite the increase in throughput, the waiting lists were lower in July this year than they were in July 2000 and the waiting list figure is trending down. Have a look at the position for the last five years. It has been trending down significantly.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mrs Cross?

MRS CROSS: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, when did you first become aware that 4,050 Canberrans are now waiting for elective surgery?

MR STANHOPE: I am not sure, Mrs Cross. I do not keep that fine detail in my mind. I keep a lot of detail there, but not that fine detail.

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