Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2349 ..



Mr Speaker, I just draw Mrs Dunne's attention to page 7 of the government's response to the Estimates Committee report, where it points out that in the 2001-02 budget the previous government described the following initiatives as initiatives: an expansion of the out-of-school education program; additional funding for the enhancement of Indigenous Youth Centre's services; expansion of the learning for life program; and enhanced indigenous health services. I think it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Mr Speaker, but of course that won't stop, Mrs Dunne.

Finally, Mr Cornwell makes the point about aged care services. He first of all criticises the government for the period of time that it's taken to resolve the planning and development issues for a new aged care facility opposite the Calvary Hospital in South Bruce. Mr Speaker, that is a very complex issue. It's complex for a number of reasons. I would happy to give Mr Cornwell a full briefing on that matter so that he understands the issue more fully.

Initially Calvary proposed a much smaller facility. When they went to the government initially they said, "We're only going to have a 60-bed facility."That then changed, and it became over 100 beds. When they wanted additional land, we couldn't give them that land. The previous government wouldn't give them the land either, for the same reasons: they were under a commitment to the community also in that regard. So Calvary had to adjust their expectation; they had to adjust their plans.

I'm pleased to say that project is still making good progress, and I anticipate, as I've announced publicly, to go to cabinet within the next month or so with a proposition to direct-grant the land to the Little Company of Mary to provide that very important service. So, Mr Speaker, that is ongoing.

Mr Cornwell tries to make a scandal out of the fact that, because these people are in our hospitals, they're costing more than if they were in our nursing homes. Well, this is a nationally recognised problem, Mr Cornwell; it's not unique to the ACT. Yes, it is a scandal. And the reason it's a scandal, Mr Speaker, is that the Commonwealth government does not fund the number of aged care beds that according to its own formula it should fund for the ACT. Mr Speaker, they do not fund aged care beds to the level that they are required to fund even according to their own formula. Nationally, right around the country, state and territory governments are saying to the Commonwealth government, "You must improve in this area."

Mr Speaker, let me just make this point: in the next Australian Health Care Agreement, the Commonwealth proposes one-off capital funding only for these facilities; it does not propose recurrent funding for aged care beds. That's what the federal Liberal government is proposing to deliver to the citizens of Canberra and to the citizens of Australia. "No recurrent funding for aged care beds,"is what they're saying, Mr Speaker. That is an outrage when we all know that it's the Commonwealth government's responsibility to provide those aged care beds. It has been since the Medicare agreements came into existence.

Mr Speaker, those are the sorts of dilemmas we would like to negotiate with the Commonwealth about. It's a pity that the federal minister just doesn't show up for meetings, because that makes it pretty hard to talk to them. Mr Speaker, maybe it

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .