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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1632 ..

Ms Gallagher presented the following papers:

ACT WorkCover-School cleaning services audit-

Programmed Inspections of Cleaning Contractors in ACT Public Schools-Report-October 2002-January 2003.

Copy of letter from Occupational Health and Safety Commissioner, ACT WorkCover, dated 6 May 2003, to Ms Katy Gallagher MLA, Minister for Industrial Relations.

Motion agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.22 to 2.30 pm.

Distinguished visitor

MR SPEAKER: I acknowledge the presence of Senator Andrew Bartlett in our gallery. Welcome, Senator.

Questions without notice

Health funding

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Corbell, the Minister for Health. Minister, on 2 May 2003 you issued a press release calling on the federal government to match the ACT's growth in health funds, which you claimed was 5 per cent in real terms. The offer that you spurned from the federal government was 7 per cent growth funding to the ACT provided that you matched it. In next year's budget you increase public hospital funding by 3 per cent and by only 2 per cent in 2004-05, which is not enough to keep up with inflation let alone increases in health costs. Did you knock back the Commonwealth's very generous offer on health care funding because you could not match the offer in terms of growth funding?

MR CORBELL: I am very pleased to have received this question from Mr Smyth because it gives me the opportunity to put to bed some of the, I think, completely false suggestions that Mr Smyth has been making in the wider community. Mr Smyth is reported in the paper today as accusing me and the Labor government of tinkering with the health budget. If there is a comparison between my tinkering and Mr Smyth's tinkering, I think I will take my tinkering any time. The reason for that is that I have had the department of health do some analysis. For that part of financial year 2001-02 when Labor was first elected to office, funding for public hospitals rose by 10 per cent; in 2002-03 by 2.7 per cent; and in 2003-04 by 10 per cent-on average, an increase of over 7 per cent per annum. Since Labor has come to office there has been an average increase of 7 per cent per annum just in our public hospitals.

Compare that with the last two years of the Liberal government. Did they get anywhere close to 7 per cent in their last two years? No, they did not. In fact, the funding for public hospitals increased by only 4.05 per cent. Compare that to an average of 7 per cent for the three financial years that Labor has been responsible for

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