Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4274 ..
announced the healthy cities program. When you read the few pages on the social determinants of health in the health action plan, you really have to ask yourself about the openness and honesty of presenting the same concepts as the previous government under a different title without acknowledging the achievements to date.
Mr Deputy Speaker, on releasing this plan, the Chief Minister suggested in a media release that it is a five-year plan. The advantage for the government of the five-year concept is that they could attempt to argue that there should be no measurable goals for five years. I presume that this sort of lack of accountability would be unacceptable to this Assembly. Can this Assembly really risk allowing five more years of wallowing? We have a motion to set specific goals. I am sure that no member will have difficulty with the Chief Minister adding further goals to those that the motion requires. Long-term measurable goals will, I am sure, be welcomed by all members. (Quorum formed.)
The Chief Minister has said that he will welcome constructive feedback. (Extension of time granted.) This motion tests the extent to which he openly and honestly meant it. Chief Minister, through you, Mr Deputy Speaker, are you now willing to welcome the constructive feedback we are presenting? Are you willing to accept this motion in the spirit of constructive criticism? Will you consider its contents and turn your health action plan into genuine action. We are all keen to see a genuine action plan that is a step beyond the platitudes and the set of motherhood statements which are the plan that you have released.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.45): Mr Deputy Speaker, I think that it is a pity, in a way, that I have to speak to this motion today. In attacking the health action plan, Mr Smyth has lived up to his pledge to be critical and he has made much of that in his presentation here today, but he has failed by any measure to be constructive. That is a pity, because the government's new health action plan does represent a terrific opportunity to shape the ACT's health system for the future and the Opposition Leader has spurned his chance to make a positive contribution.
The health action plan was developed in full consultation with the Canberra community. Discussions began at the health summit in February. The health summit was attended by a representative of almost every organisation in Canberra that has an interest in the delivery of health services to the Canberra community and it was widely applauded by everybody within the community associated with health. It was genuine consultation with the community and the health action plan sprung out of that. This assault by Mr Smyth on the health action plan is, essentially, an attack on everybody that participated in that consultancy process, that bothered to attend the summit and that bothered to make submissions.
As indicated, we invited them to that and we did hold public meetings. It is interesting that we did not get a submission from the Liberal Party. Mr Smyth is coming in after the event. He did not bother to contribute, but now claims to be the saviour. If Mr Smyth were genuine in aspiring to constructive criticism, he would have taken the opportunity to participate in an open and consultative process. Despite that, he has the temerity to suggest that his list of performance measures responds to community concerns.