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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4287 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

You have all these fanciful notions about the need for us to spend more money, but you never stand up and say where the money is going to come from. Where is this $200 million coming from? That is what we are looking for: we are looking for a little bit of honesty and accountability from those who support such a motion.

Mrs Dunne: No, that is what we are looking for.

MR STANHOPE: No, that is what the community is looking for, and we are accountable. We provided $415 million for health in the budget which was passed in August. That is the budget that applies until the end of this financial year. Then we will introduce another budget. In that budget, subject to the deliberations of the cabinet, there will be another appropriation bill and it will be roughly the same as the appropriation in this budget, having regard to our budgetary situation.

We will not be spending another $200 million on health. Let me tell you now, there will not be a 200 per cent increase in funding for health in the next budget. We will be lucky if there is 5 per cent of that $200 million, having regard to the losses we have taken on our investments, and what they have done to the bottom line. We all know about that. What we have said-and it is said there clearly in the health action plan-is that this is a plan that asks what we need to do to continue to be the pre-eminent health system in Australia, and on what do we have to concentrate.

Ms Tucker bewails the fact that when she opens the plan to the page that refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, there is no action, just some grand statements of principle. Ms Tucker, I regret and apologise that we did not staple to the back of the plan the indigenous health action plan that exists-the regional plan for enhancing indigenous health under which we operate-which contains a whole range of detailed actions. I am sorry that we did not attach to this particular document all of the individual action plans in each of the areas of health care.

That is like saying this document does not go into the nitty gritty of what we propose in relation to mental health. Everybody knows we are currently engaged in a major process of review for the development of a mental health strategic plan. The complaint is that it is not attached to this document, that we did not bring it down, we did not make it available to you, we did not say, "Here is the health action plan, the overarching plan."Of course, feeding off this are a range of detailed action plans in specific areas, a pile a foot high.

Ms Tucker opens this and says, "They are all nice statements about what we want to do, but they are all very general."However, there is another document, as there is in relation to almost every aspect of health care, from which we operate. The criticism is that it is not in this document. It was never meant to be in this document.

Mr Smyth: Why is it called an action plan?

MR STANHOPE: There is a whole raft of individual strategic plans in relation to a whole range of health-care areas. That criticism misunderstands the nature of the document and the nature of the implementation. Obviously, people have not bothered to look. Nobody in this debate has mentioned the role of the ACT Health Council in relation to monitoring the implementation of the plan.

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