Page 535 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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At no time did the government attempt to conceal the findings of the accreditation survey from the public. It is in the public’s interest to know about the quality and standards of health services provided in ACT health facilities. It is nonsense to say that the results of the survey were kept secret. An all-staff email was sent to all TCH staff on Friday, 14 May 2004, stating that TCH had received preliminary advice of a favourable result, following the accreditation survey by ACHS, and that the survey team had advised hospital management that they would be recommending to the council a two-year accreditation.

Staff were informed in September 2004 of the formal result of a survey, which was a two-year accreditation. Successful accreditation is not an opportunity for scare-mongering; it is an opportunity to congratulate the hospital staff who worked long and hard to achieve this result and an opportunity to identify further improvements towards future accreditation by the ACHS. To suggest that there was some attempt to cover up and that the ACT government thought that there was something to hide in relation to this really does not stand scrutiny in light of the willingness with which the hospital shared this information with its staff.

It may be in the interests of the opposition to continue to attack our hospitals and our health system. It is not in the interests of those dedicated health professionals working in the system or in the interests of the broader community. I suggest we spend less time on these unproductive debates and be allowed to get on with the business of building and improving our already top-class health system.

Mr Speaker, I did actually think that my 15 minutes speaking time had gone very fast. I conferred with the clerk. I am loath to actually ask for an extension of time, but there is a necessity to put our side of the argument forward. In actual fact there had been a mistake and I had been given 10 minutes, not 15 as I was entitled to. I just wanted to place that on the record to make sure that people are aware that I would have actually stuck to my time limits if I had have been given the correct amount of time.

MR SPEAKER: But you sat down.

Climate change

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.07): If ever there was a case for thinking globally and acting locally, climate change is it. There is general agreement that there is evidence that human-induced climate change is well under way. The IPCC has recently produced new, alarming evidence and recommends that we reduce our emissions by 60 per cent of 1998-1999 global levels by 2050.

In our region just at the moment, two cyclones, one of which is at the highest rating possible, are battering Samoa and the Cook Islands. Are these cyclones a result of climate change? We can’t say. But whether they are or not, there is no doubt that the precautionary principle, which was generally accepted by the global community in 1992 at the Rio De Janeiro conference on environmental development, at least requires us to take “no-regret actions” as they are called. Given that our government has refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol—

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