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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4072 ..

Detail stage

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood ) adjourned to a later hour.

Health and Community Care Services (Repeal and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 21 November 2002, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS TUCKER (11.18): This bill formalises the process begun some months ago to build over the purchaser/provider split in ACT health services that was carved out by the previous government in the belief that a commercial process would, by definition, deliver services more efficiently and effectively. I think we have learned that setting up competitive tendering inside a department, across different departments and, as a matter of course, across the community sector has resulted in less innovation, less creativity, less flexibility and less collaboration in the field.

Mental health services, for example, are being-or, presumably, will be-managed more coherently across the two hospitals and in the community. Some of the silo mentality that competing structures encourage will hopefully be eroded under this new set-up.

Clearly, there will also be some advantages in simplifying decision-making and reporting processes. A part of this process, I understand, is a reconfiguring of the performance indicators the department reports on-something better than keeping the minister happy for 90 per cent of the time, for example, such as an action plan with targets and timeframes, say. Either way, the service has already been abolished, so this bill really adjusts the legislation to reflect these changes.

Having recognised its mistake in pitting one hospital against another and having abandoned this business model for the health portfolio, I hope the government now will apply the same logic and vision in its partnership with small non-government organisations-not just in health but across the whole community sector. In other words, the abandonment of the purchaser/provider model inside government service is an encouraging start. But the process needs to be continued across the community sector.

There is UNESCO research on social sustainability in cities that points to the need for connectedness for people and for innovation and collaboration in the activities of their community organisations. The real issues are about how to get our human services, government and community base to work collaboratively and how we can get them to respond creatively to the people we label as clients or consumers. The destruction wreaked on the community providers through chronic under-funding and competitive tendering needs to be addressed. Government needs to ensure that there are models for service delivery that will provide a range of innovative, community-based services.

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