Page 1302 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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hospital to deal with demand are starting to turn the corner and we are seeing improvements. It is right that the Assembly should acknowledge those improvements when they occur.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms MacDonald?

MS MacDONALD: Minister, what are the reasons for these improvements?

MS GALLAGHER: The main reason behind the improvements has been our extra investment. This government has increased funding to the health system by just over 61 per cent. This money has been targeted to areas of increasing demand. For example, in mental health alone, we have increased funding by 109 per cent. We have turned the corner from being the lowest per capita spender on mental health to being amongst the highest.

We have increased our bed capacity. We have provided an additional 147 beds to the ACT public hospital system. There are more of those to come as we continue to see massive increases in demand for health services. We expect that the already provided increase will mean more than 800 hospital beds on average in the ACT, which is an increase of 24 per cent on the beds available in 2001-02.

There is more to be done in this area. The demand for health services is growing at a rate such that most governments are finding it difficult to meet demand. We know that the growth in demand here will increase right up until 2020. This government is making the plans. It is putting in place commitments around how we will continue to meet the demand that we have not only today but also in the future.

Public housing—prostitution

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Housing, Mr Hargreaves. Minister, on 13 March, you said on ABC radio that you had never received complaints from residents in Theodore about prostitution and other criminal activities involving tenants in public housing in that suburb. You also said anybody who had information about such matters should be reporting this to police. Minister, on 13 and 14 March 2008, I received emails from two outraged residents, partly in response to your radio interview, who have had to put up with prostitution, drug trafficking, burglaries, vandalism and intimidation involving three government houses in their neighbourhood, and who have repeatedly reported such matters over a 12-month period to police, your department and finally to your office, including, specifically, the allegations of prostitution. I quote from the first email: “During this time I and numerous other residents who shared the same fate called or wrote to ACT Housing” and “I added my name to a petition addressed to Minister Hargreaves.” The second constituent writes, “We’ve called the minister’s office and talked to the woman who fields these sorts of issues.” Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table the two emails.

Leave granted.

MR PRATT: I table the following papers:

Copy of email to Mr Pratt, dated 13 March 2008.

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