Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1938 ..
An extraordinary statement from the minister was published in the Canberra Times on 5 June. It says that planning minister Corbell said PALM was in the process of developing guidelines for supported housing, but they were yet to be finalised. Why apply them to St Anne's Convent if they have not yet been finalised? It simply does not make sense. I have written to the minister asking that very question, among others, and I look forward to a response. It is not the role of Planning and Land Management to involve itself in age discrimination. I suggest it withdraws from this type of social engineering, for which it has no place.
I now refer briefly to the question of aged care places. I welcome the 65 aged care places for Calvary Hospital and I welcome the sub and non-acute aged care facility which has been flagged in this budget.
Minister Corbell recently responded on radio to some of my comments-what I said was not a beat-up, Mr Corbell-in relation to $12 million being lost by this government because it allowed people to remain in hospital when they should have been in one of these 65 aged care places at Calvary Hospital, if only this government could have agreed with Calvary on the site.
For 18 months, some 20 to 30 people languished in hospital beds. The rate per day is $968 for less than 35 days in a hospital setting. That is $968, compared to the highest rate in a residential aged care setting of $203.95. If you do your sums and multiply 30 people over 18 months, you will find that some $12 million has been wasted. That is the difference between those two figures.
That is a scandal-it is not a beat-up. I would urge the minister to come forward, as a matter of urgency, and let us get these 65 beds into action as soon as possible. Similarly, I hope that the total of 60 beds in the sub and non-acute aged care facility come on line no later than the completion date of December 2004. With a little attention to this important matter, we might be able to get them on line a lot faster than has been laid down.
We do need more retirement accommodation. We do need more retirement villages, and I therefore commend the recommendations at 9.27 and 9.29 in relation to these increasingly important facilities.
MRS BURKE(4.37): Mr Speaker, I want to make a few general comments about the estimates process. This morning, we heard many things from the chair of the committee, leaving many questions unanswered in my mind. Particularly concerning is the viability of the budget data. How reliable is the information? Can we trust the accuracy of this budget? Is it sustainable? Many questions lie unanswered, and the devil is always in the detail.
I am concerned at the contemptible behaviour of some ministers, who wanted to dictate to the committee what they would and would not talk about-or the release of certain information which was very relevant to the committee and to the community at large. That is hypocritical, given that this government continually hounded the Liberal Party for behaviour of that sort. That is interesting, isn't it, now that the boot is on the other foot?