Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4290 ..
MRS DUNNE: At no time will he do anything to acknowledge the needs of the ACT community to have performance measures included in this action plan, so that the residents of the ACT can actually tell how their government is performing, and how their health system is performing. There has been a constant reprise since I have been in this place, and before, about the need for accountable, measurable, realistic performance measures.
When this opposition has the temerity to do the job that this government will not do, all it is confronted with is derision from the health minister. The health minister has shown by this that he does not care about aged people, the waiting list, mental health and people in need of other assistance, people who have drug and alcohol problems: all he wants to do is criticise. He has not made the cultural change. He has not realised that he is the Chief Minister. He is sitting on the sideline carping, as he has done for the past three years in this place.
It is imperative in public policy to have quantifiable, measurable, recognisable performance measures, so that we in this place, and the community at large, can determine whether the policies implemented by government-whichever government-are in fact being met. Are the needs of the community being met? If you do not measure your performance, you will never know. What this boils down to today is that this government never wants to know whether it is achieving something. At this stage, it will never know because there is nothing to measure. If it has its way here today, there will still not be any measures.
Such measures are the important element of this area of public policy, and any other area of public policy. To have this health minister here today, and through the media, deriding the attempts of the opposition to impose some rigour on his department, and on his stewardship of the health department and the health services in the ACT, is an absolute disgrace. I commend the members of the crossbenches who, over the time that I have been here, have been constantly calling for these measures. It is time that this Assembly started to exert some influence over this government, its waywardness, and its lack of concern for the people of the ACT.
MS DUNDAS (5.40): I rise briefly to speak on the amendments that are floating around, and to again make the point that I still find it quite interesting that we have to move these amendments and have this debate in the Assembly at all. The amendments call for an implementation strategy with time lines, targets and actual costings to be developed for health in the ACT. I understand that the government believes that it already has key developments in other plans and guidelines that exist for the health portfolio. However, I then have to ask: what is the purpose of the health action plan 2002 if it is not to guide and to set clear goals for the provision of health care in the ACT?
If that is the basis of the health action plan 2002 document, then I do not see why it does not include goals, implementation details and costings. Otherwise, it is just a glossy brochure and I understand that that is what members of the community have called it. Dr Peter Collignon from the Salaried Medical Officers Federation called it a glossy brochure to make us feel good. If we all felt good, we would not need a health-care system in the ACT. However, unfortunately, that is not always true.