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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4291 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

Let's bite the bullet, take some action, write down some clear goals and decide on a time frame in which to achieve those, so that we know that we are actually meeting the guidelines that we set ourselves for the provision of quality health care in the ACT. I am happy to support these amendments. I hope the government carefully considers the debate that has happened today and the proposals put forward throughout the debate and in the substantive motion, and that it seriously considers clear outcomes, clear time lines and clear costings for improving the health-care system in the ACT.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (5.42): Do I speak now to close the debate, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: No, you do not get to close the debate on an amendment.

MR SMYTH: Sorry about that.

MR SPEAKER: You want to close the debate on the matter?


MR SPEAKER: If there are no more speakers, Mr Smyth, you can close the debate.

MR SMYTH: I am happy to speak now to close the debate and then I assume we will vote on the amendments.

I just want to make a few comments on some of the things that Mr Stanhope said. Again, he fails to pay attention and he gets things wrong. He berates all of us because nobody spoke about the ACT Health Council. I am going to go back to page 8 of my speech and, if he wants, I can read the half a page where I actually spoke about the Health Council and its role. It is indicative of the level of attention that the health minister pays to his portfolio.

He reveals in his own document that there will be no extra resources. The plan is not dependent on additional resources. He said, during the course of the debate, that the costings are in the budget, that they are actually there. That raises an interesting point, because the budget process would have culminated in early May-June and then the documents would have gone off to the printer, but I thought we were still consulting at that phase. It raises the question of whether it was a sham consultation: were we consulting although the decisions had already been made, or was the government listening with its ears closed?

I suspect it was the latter. If this is an action plan that was released less than two weeks ago, and I assume it is new work, but the money for it had already been allocated in a budget six months ago, then who is not listening? The answer is the health minister. The government is not honestly and openly consulting with the public of the ACT. This is sham consultation from a man who vowed that he would be honest and open, and that he would reconnect with the community.

Mr Stanhope: And a $200 million appropriation bill.

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