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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5096 ..

Canberra Hospital-budget

MR STEFANIAK: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Health. The Auditor-General, in his Report No 10 of 2003 concerning financial audits to the year ending 30 June 2003, made the following finding in relation to Canberra Hospital:

The Hospital, in exceeding its budget for Other expenses and Net Cost of Services, did not fully manage its operations to budget.

Why has the Canberra Hospital not been able to manage its operations within budget for the year 2003-04?

MR CORBELL: I am currently considering the Auditor-General's report in detail, as is the Department of Health. It would be fair to say that it would not surprise any member in this place that the management of the budget of the Canberra Hospital, which is a source of concern, is a recurring and complex task, as is the budget of any public hospital in Australia. I am confident that Canberra Hospital will continue to operate in a robust and rigorous financial management framework. This government is continually improving the financial management of that institution.

MR STEFANIAK: Did the Auditor-General not confirm what opposition members have been stating for months about that hospital blowing its budget?

MR CORBELL: This would not be the first time that the hospital has gone over its budget. The management of the budgets of public hospitals is an historic issue that has plagued every government since self-government. Public hospitals continually require budget supplementation. It is difficult to ensure that we have effective and robust financial management structures in place in institutions as complex as public hospitals.

However, I am confident that this government will continue to improve the hospital's financial management, accountability and governance. That will be an ongoing task for many ministers and governments in the future. This government has in place the right processes and people to effect the necessary changes.

University of Canberra

MRS BURKE: My question is directed to the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope. I refer to the recent media comments-I think some 16, at the last count, from your Treasurer last Wednesday alone-and further comments only yesterday from Mr Quinlan during the economic white paper debate and all the rhetoric. For instance, there was the "leveraging of our intellectual assets", "strengthening links between schools and industry", "knowledge partnerships"and the "commercialisation of ideas".

Chief Minister, against these commitments-which I assume these are-can you advise the Assembly of both the total number of University of Canberra Council members and, specifically, of these, the number appointed to the University Council by you, in your capacity as Chief Minister?

MR STANHOPE: I must say I do not know the precise number, Mr Speaker. I would have to go and do a count. I do not walk around keeping in my head the number of

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