Page 1519 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008

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MR STEFANIAK: Thank you. It might explain part of the supplementary, but why will this project now cost eight times the original cost?

MR STANHOPE: It is very much the scope of the project. We are now realigning Cohen Street. It is coming down—

Mr Stefaniak: I thought that was the original proposal.

MR STANHOPE: Not in this particular configuration. This is a result of quite detailed negotiations. It is the cost of a major piece of roadwork to extend Cohen Street through to Benjamin Way. It is a very significant project. There is significant engineering required. It will completely reconfigure traffic movements through the Belconnen town centre. It is a very significant project with some major engineering associated with the move. As you, Mr Stefaniak, would understand from your knowledge, to take Cohen Street down to Benjamin Way past the Belconnen Mall is a significant engineering exercise.


MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, could you update the Assembly on how the government is responding to future demand for ACT health services.

MS GALLAGHER: The plans outlined by this government yesterday in relation to health and preparing our community for the future are visionary and ambitious. We have set ourselves an enormous job to completely redevelop and reconfigure the ACT public health system. That has been based on some rigorous data and analysis that has been worked on over the last 18 months to try and project exactly what the city’s health needs are now and what they are going to be in the future.

This is something that our community has never done. We have taken a yearly, two-yearly or three-yearly look at where we are going and how we meet that challenge. The work we have done shows clearly that an incremental change over a number of years is simply not good enough. It will not deliver the capacity we need, it will not deliver the workforce we need, and it will not deliver the information technology changes that we need to meet the health tsunami that will hit this community in around 2016.

The plans outlined by this government yesterday start this most important work. We have provided $300 million to kick off this infrastructure redevelopment, but it is expected over time that once this finishes, over a 10-year period, this investment will exceed $1 billion.

Yesterday’s announcements have been largely welcomed by interested members of the health stakeholder community, and also by the broader community. I think they see the stress that our public health facilities are under, and they see the need for radical and dramatic change. We know that we are going to need around a 60 per cent increase in capacity over the next 10 to 15 years. It will take time to build that into our

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