Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2343 ..
I do acknowledge that there are some very good things in the budget. I'm always fair in saying things like that. But again, I think it's just something that we need to be mindful of; that it's not just shoving and pushing money at a problem; that we need to really look at the whole structure of what we're doing from the administration down, making sure. It's been talked about as empire building, but I probably see it as more chiefs than Indians. So we need to make sure that it's not top heavy in any way there.
I sort of commend the government on some of the initiatives but note with disappointment those things that are obviously very missing from this particular line of the appropriation.
MR CORNWELL(8.07): I just want to make a few comments in relation to aged care in the health budget. I am disappointed that, despite the request of the Select Committee on Estimates that the government takes all possible steps to ensure the aged care facility at Calvary is operational in the 2003-04 financial year, the government's response states:
The Land Group of the Department of Urban Services is currently negotiating the details of the siting of the development footprint and issues relating to the environmental and land use constraints. This process is being fast tracked within the overall constraints of the need to obtain Government approval to the allocation of land and the planning approvals necessary for the development to proceed. Given these constraints, it is not likely that Calvary Healthcare will be able to have this facility operational in the 2003-04 financial year.
Eighteen months have elapsed since, in 2002, this Labor government was given 65 beds from the Commonwealth for aged care at Calvary, and this government has the temerity to say:
The Land Group of the Department of Urban Services is currently negotiating the details of siting the development footprint and issues relating to the environmental and land use constraints.
What a load of public service gobbledygook! And then it goes on to say-and I can hardly repeat it, Mr Speaker, because I am gobsmacked:
This process is being fast tracked ...
After 18 months of doing virtually nothing!
Mrs Dunne mentioned earlier, Mr Corbell, a certain scandal in relation to health. I believe we have another scandal here now. Sixty-five beds have been sitting there for 18 months, with nothing going on-except people are mucking around about trees or something of that nature. In the meantime we have lost $12 million.
Mr Corbell and I had an argument publicly on the matter after he kindly advised me how much it would cost to keep people in a hospital bed as opposed to one of these 65 beds that were being provided for aged care. The hospital setting costs $968 per day for fewer than 35 days. The total cost of a residential aged care bed is $203.95.