Page 2324 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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sustain in a period of growing GST returns, but, of course, ought not to be the subject of priority when we have 5,000 people out there waiting for elective surgery. We will deal with health later, but Mr Corbell says that they have been clinically assessed—those are the words he likes to use—as not needing to be attended to for the time being. Tell that to somebody who is suffering from severe pain because they need a hip replacement operation. No, they are probably not going to die in the short term, but it is a very distressing position for many of those patients to be in.

We see inefficiencies in our health system. That is what the $100 million excess spending is about. It is not that we are saying that it be cut by $100 million. We are saying that you are not managing your budget efficiently. We had surgeons lined up the other day at the public accounts committee. They told us stories about how they could not even start an operation that would finish after 4 o’clock. We have this extraordinary underutilisation of operating theatres and what we are talking about as an opposition is about getting value for the money.

We are not going to be out there advocating the cutting of the health budget. Goodness me, we are going to have a growing problem in health as our community ages. But for heaven’s sake, do not be nervous about making some tough decisions. The Minister for Health needs to get a handle on what is going on in his agency. The areas for which we hear constant criticism are the planning administration and the health portfolio and—surprise, surprise!—the same minister ultimately is responsible. These are areas that need to be tackled and we need to move from the luxuries that have been part of the government’s approach to date.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to a later hour.

Standing orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day No 1, Assembly business—Report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2005-2006 and the Government response to the Select Committee on Estimates being called on and debated cognately with order of the day No 1, Executive business—Appropriation Bill 2005-2006.

Appropriation Bill 2005-2006

[Cognate papers:

Estimates 2005-2006—Select Committee report

Estimates 2005-2006—Select Committee report—government response]

Debate resumed from 5 May 2005.

Detail stage

MR SPEAKER: I remind members that this is a cognate debate. In debating order of the day No 1, executive business, Appropriation Bill 2005-2006, they may also address their remarks to the relevant parts of order of the day No 1, Assembly business, report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2005-2006, and order of the day No 3, Assembly

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