Page 3321 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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were made by the then shadow spokesperson for health, if not the then Leader of the Opposition; I am not quite sure.

Mr Mulcahy: Who was it?

MR STANHOPE: At the point of the promise, the promises were made by Mr Smyth. They are on the record. They are unambiguous; they are emphatic: a Liberal government, after the next election, will reduce hospital waiting times at a cost of $5 million a year, will increase funding for mental health to 11 per cent of the health budget at a cost of $35 million a year and will provide 100 additional acute care beds at a cost of $63 million a year. Those are promises made explicitly, unambiguously and on the record by the Liberal Party in the course of this last term.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: No, no. They are all in this term and they are all on the record. We have the documentation. We have the promises in writing; they are on the public record. There are promises from the Liberal Party—promises made by Mr Smyth, promises that were authorised by his party room.

Those three promises in relation to health—100 acute care beds, that mental health funding will increase to 11 per cent of the health budget and that they will provide an additional $5 million a year for reducing hospital waiting times—add up to just in excess of $100 million. $100 million per year! On top of that $100 million a year, we now have the GP clinic, which we now know will be fully funded by a Liberal government. Even under the Liberal Party’s own funding and costing, it comes in at $8 million, and we now know that that costing is wrong.

When announced, the policy was to be a fully funded bulk-billing clinic—in other words, we employ the doctors and then the bulk-billing component of the arrangement is paid for by the commonwealth. The Liberal Party thought: “Oh, crikey, we don’t understand what bulk-billing is and we don’t understand the Health Insurance Act. Our policy certainly cannot work.” It was never intended to work; it was just a throwaway policy from a party in complete disarray.

That particular promise in relation to health takes the Liberal Party’s promises in relation to health to in excess of $110 million a year at this stage.

Mrs Burke: What are your costings?

MR STANHOPE: Our estimated budget surpluses, whilst healthy, average out at just over $50 million a year. The Liberal Party’s health promises to date are double the anticipated surplus. The Liberal Party’s health promises alone will drive the ACT budget into deficit. The Liberal Party’s health policies represent a deficit of $200 million over the term. They were never meant to be kept. They are jokes. (Time expired.)

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): I advise members that we have visitors in the gallery: year 5 students of Holy Trinity primary school.

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