Page 705 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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selected is the Illawarra Retirement Trust—a major provider of aged care facilities and services, particularly on the south coast and, I believe, in Sydney—which will now be developing that site. It is a tremendous site—section 87 on Lake Ginninderra.

As I say, this is an Australian first. It is the culmination of an awful lot of hard work by an awful lot of people within the ACT government, most particularly within the LDA and through the office of the Minister for Planning, Simon Corbell. They deserve an enormous vote of thanks and congratulations for that—and, to be fair, so does the commonwealth.

I find it interesting that the ACT government has been able to work with the commonwealth government on this Australian first, in that we will now have a site that we can look to moving to fruition within the next 18 months to two years. That site will provide an additional 40 high-care beds, an additional 60 low-care beds and 150 self-care independent living units. There will be communal recreational services, a cafe, recreation rooms, meeting rooms, a concert area, a video room, bowling facilities, a pool, a community bus and significant entertainment and barbecue areas.

The Illawarra Retirement Trust, which I referred to earlier, operates 34 aged care villages in Sydney, Wollongong, Kiama, Shoalhaven and throughout the Eurobodalla. There will be ongoing meetings between ACT government agencies in order to ensure that there are no impediments to the development process and the early construction or commencement of work on this particular project.

This is just the start. The LDA and the ACT government have identified a number of other such sites that will be development ready into the future for developments of this same size and order in each of the years, I think, over the next few years, to the point where we expect to be able to deliver 900 places and 800 independent living units to the people of Canberra over the next five years. I think that is a fantastic achievement, particularly coming off the back of what we inherited—as I say, 14 beds in four years—from the previous Liberal government. Over the next five years we expect to deliver around 900 places and 800 independent living units.

Health—elective surgery

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. In December 2001, at the start of the first term of the Stanhope government, there were 3,530 people on the elective surgery waiting list. As at the end of January 2005, there were 5,035 people on the elective surgery waiting list. The monthly average of patients added to the list in 2000-01 was 912. In 2003-04 it was 903 and for the year to date 854 patients have been added to the list each month. So demand has been steady, not growing, as you have stated. Minister, why has the elective surgery waiting list blown out by 1,500 people since the start of the Stanhope government to the all-time high of 5,035 people?

MR CORBELL: This question is about a matter of interest to the Canberra community and I think that it is important that the issue is understood in its entirety. We are seeing increased demand for elective surgery in the ACT. At the same time, we are seeing some of the highest ever levels of throughput for elective surgery in the ACT.

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