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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 4221 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Smyth has asserted that the financial situation of the health system is problematic and that there is a blow-out in the budget position for ACT Health. Mr Smyth should know better, especially as someone who claims he wants to be the Treasurer of this territory.

He shows a complete lack of understanding of the annual reporting framework. The higher expenditure Mr Smyth has alluded to is due to the restructuring of health away from an internal purchaser/provider model-whereby the Canberra Hospital and ACT Community Care were funded for service provision and maintained separate financial accounts recognising the separate legal entity arrangements-to a single entity.

Mr Smyth has been told that the financial transactions for the Canberra Hospital and ACT Community Care for the period 1 January 2003 to 30 June 2003 would be reported under the one ACT Health entity structure. He has also been told that the department's budget could not be amended to reflect the higher levels of transactions-that is, revenue and expenditure transactions, for the benefit of Mr Smyth. Higher expenditure largely relates to depreciation, movements in employee provisions and transactions that are funded from revenue sources separate to those identified in the department's budget. These revenues include patient accommodation, meals and accommodation, high cost drug funding from the Commonwealth and facilities fees.

Mr Smyth has been told, on several occasions, that he cannot simply look at the operating result for the department to come to the financial result for ACT Health in 2002-03, but he continues to assert otherwise-a practice that is misleading for both the Canberra community and those who take an interest in these issues. You have to conclude-

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, you have ruled that "misleading"can't be used.

MR SPEAKER: I think misleading this house is different from a claim about misleading the community.

Mr Smyth: Well, we'll apply the same standard, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: You're welcome to. Misleading this house is a very serious matter. Claims about members misleading the community have been made in the past and are allowed in this place.

MR CORBELL: For Mr Smyth's information, he actually has to include the operating results for the Canberra Hospital and ACT Community Care for the first six months of the last financial year. After you combine those results, which were all audited by the Auditor-General and are in the annual report-if Mr Smyth had bothered to look-you can see that Health had an improvement on the combined budgeted operating result of over $7 million.

That is the bottom line when it comes to the Health budget. Mr Smyth would seek to portray it otherwise but, in reality, the disastrous purchaser/provider model, which did nothing to improve the delivery of service in our hospitals and across the health system, is something that we sought to rectify.

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