Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2892 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
acute services, there is an increase of 18 per cent, from $216 million to $255 million. That is an absolutely staggering increase in funding provided in this budget.
For mental health services there is a 14.3 per cent increase in funding, from $24.9 million to $28.5 million. This increase will try to make up some of the lag that we have suffered. As reported in the Canberra Times, our funding for mental health services in the ACT is 171/2 per cent worse than the next worst jurisdiction in Australia. We are striving to make up the difference.
There is an increase of $16.7 million, from $79.2 million to $92.4 million, for community health services. That is another outstanding increase in funding. That does not account for the significant increase in funding for disability services, which we will discuss later under another line item, an increase of $2.5 million.
Mr Smyth, in his naivety, threw out the challenge: "The Gallop response is going to be delivered in September, and what is the government going to do about it?" What we did about it was to appropriate $10 million over the next four years in anticipation of the government's response to the Gallop report. There is $10 million there, $2.5 million in this year and $2.5 million in each of the outyears, as additional funding for disability services. This is the most major increase in funding for disability services ever-$10 million over the next four years. That is what we are doing in answer to the rhetorical question that Mr Smyth has asked. We are providing more money than you ever thought to provide to disability services. Ten million dollars over the next four years is an amazing increase in funding to people with disabilities.
It is interesting to reflect on some of the things we did achieve. The Liberals poured scorn on the second appropriation bill. They said that we threw money and got no response; that there was no return for the money we provided to the Canberra Hospital in the second appropriation.
As a result of that second appropriation, the Canberra Hospital has employed an additional 49.9 full-time equivalent nurses. The Liberals pour scorn on that. The suggestion is that that was all wasted; that it meant nothing; that there were not better health outcomes or better care as a result of that; that there was not a more highly skilled work force; that there was not better continuity of care for patients; that we do not have more staff in speciality areas. Nurses are having the leave they are entitled to. They do not have to forgo their leave.
We have heard raised today the vexed question of waiting lists. What is not admitted by the Liberals as they focus on that is that, as a result of the additional funding we have provided the Canberra and the Calvary hospitals since coming to government, 1,350 people who would not have been attended to or cared for under the Liberals' funding were cared for; 1,350 people who would not have been cared for under your budget allocation received treatment.
In addition, in the last year, for nine months of which we were in government, there were an additional 9,000 outpatient occasions of service at the Canberra and Calvary hospitals. That is the achievement. That is what you pour scorn on. That is what you say is nothing. We have put in place a whole range of strategies to deal with the need to better