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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3824 ..

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. One of the first things that this government is doing, of course, is to work as hard as it has to provide the significant additional funds that it has to health care in the ACT. There's an enormous amount of work that has been undertaken. There was, overall, a 12 per cent increase in funding for health care in the ACT in our first budget. Added to that was the significant additional funding that was provided in the second appropriation bill, which was passed at about this time last year. And you can't deny that.

Mr Humphries: Inputs maybe, but not the outcomes.

MR STANHOPE: I think it would perhaps be interesting to do some stocktake on what has been achieved as a result of those significant additional funds. In the first instance, we were able to settle the long-running, divisive nurses dispute. Interestingly, in relation to that dispute, the previous government made a pay offer but of course had not provided any funds within the outyears to pay for the offer that was made.

Mr Corbell: Shameful.

MR STANHOPE: That is absolutely shameful government.

Mr Humphries: So what have you done about it?

MR STANHOPE: What we did about it is: we settled the dispute, we made the offer and we paid for it. We paid for what you were not prepared to make provision for. We did what you were not prepared to do. We settled the nurses dispute through a genuine offer that was backed by money-not like your Clayton's offer. Actually, we now understand why you refused to settle that dispute. You did not settle it because you could not, because you had not made any allowance. You had not made any allowance in your forward estimates to pay it.

Look at that for gross dishonesty-to actually make an offer with absolutely nothing behind it. The money was not there; you made no provision. That is why you did not even attempt to settle that nurses dispute. That is why you stirred it up and were as provocative as you were.

So, if you want to go through what we have done, what we have done is settle the nurses dispute and provide an additional 12 per cent in funding for the health system. We have actually provided, as I said before. We have actually purchased that additional vital state-of-the-art equipment for oncology. We have actually undone the damage that you did in relation to radiation therapists by refusing to fund them and actually forcing them interstate.

Fancy keeping the most vital cog in your allied health wheel-namely, radiation therapists-at a pay rate scale 26 per cent less than their colleagues interstate and then whingeing, blowing and complaining with this froth and bubble about how we cannot retain them and how we cannot actually provide radiation therapy services on time, because you drove them out of the territory with your paltry pay. Twenty-six per cent less than they were getting across the border-that is your legacy.

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