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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 3456 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Here is yet another broken promise from Labor's election platform: Labor will maintain an additional allocation to the public health dental program of $2.567 million over the next four years. That figure is exact-$2.567 million over the next four years. The funding for the dental program actually decreased, in real terms, and it certainly did not get to the $2.567 million as promised.

Other things have gone wrong. We have seen that, under Mr Stanhope, Calvary will close, to public surgery, its elective surgery theatres for 14 weeks of this financial year. There will be no public surgery at Calvary Hospital for 14 weeks.

Canberra Hospital has already closed its wards once, and I suspect it will be forced to do so again. Add to this the imminent closure of the Dickson and Narrabundah aged day-care centres, the sending of cancer patients to Wollongong and Wagga for radiotherapy and the shuffling of patients overnight from emergency to x-ray at Canberra Hospital, for a complete picture of Mr Stanhope's incompetence.

One sad thing-not a broken promise-which came out only because of questioning in the Estimates Committee was the status of outpatient services for the people of the ACT. I started this litany by pointing out the fact that the two after-hours clinics have not eventuated. Unfortunately, some people rely on the emergency services out of hours because they cannot see a GP. We all rely on emergency services out of hours-but this year we are seeing a reduction of services in outpatients.

Even though the budget document stated there would be 210,350 outpatient services provided, by the date of the Estimates Committee at the end of July, outpatient services had already dropped to 202,000. So the question is: where has the money gone that the Chief Minister bleats about constantly? We do not have a problem with the extra money. We are happy that the extra money goes to Health. We worked hard to make up for the $344 million operating loss we inherited, so there would be more money for health and education. We are pleased to see that. For that extra money, the people of Canberra should be getting extra services, not less-yet we get less. We spend more and we get less.

That brings me to the next broken promise. Labor says: we can manage better and we will get better value for the money we spend on health. Where is the better value for the money they spend on health? No GP clinics, less outpatient services, closed wards, rationing of accident and emergency services, cuts to public psychiatric health, closure of day care centres for the aged, and sending of patients to Wollongong and Wagga. That is not better value for our health dollar. The government has broken many promises, and I believe that will continue.

Mr Speaker, moving on to corrections: Labor's document before the election stated:

Labor believes that work must be concluded on prison programs before we decide on the prison design and we must decide on design before we decide on site.

There are probably two broken promises in that. We have gone straight to choosing the site at Majura before any design or programs have been put to the public. Where is the consultation? That is, of course, another broken promise.

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