Page 632 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Additional capital expenditure will be made in this budget. These health facilities need to be built and we will build them, and they will be ready on time, so that, for our community in 2016, when we expect to reach the peak of demand for health services in the ACT, our system will be ready. We took that decision two years ago. We have done the planning. We have put aside the money. It will feature as a big part of our capital works budget over the next few years as we appropriate the money in every budget to provide the additional capital money that we will need. We have to do it, we do not have a choice about it, and we will deliver it.
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, will you be cutting any health services to stay within the ACT budget?
MS GALLAGHER: No, there are no plans to cut any health service. I do not think that any government anywhere across the world would be planning on cutting health services. You cannot. Demands for health services are growing. The demand for health services grew by 14 per cent last year. We have seen activity grow by four per cent. These are the challenges that governments face right across the world. There will be no reduction in health services. The money that we provide in the budget, in stark contrast to the approach that you took in the election for your own health policy—that money is there.
Health services are predicted to grow. Some of them will remain solid, like women’s and children’s. Women’s health services, in particular, are not expected to grow at the speed that cancer is growing, for example. They are all the decisions that we take based on demographic data and our ability to deliver those services. If we are not delivering services here in the ACT, we make arrangements for those services to be delivered in another jurisdiction.
That is the way we plan for health services. The people of the ACT are well placed to meet the challenges in their health system ahead. That is pretty much because we have provided the money in the budget over the next four years. If it were not there, we would really be struggling.
MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and concerns the NOWaste by 2010 strategy. Given that the NOWaste by 2010 strategy plan expired in 2007 and was subsequently reviewed, can the minister tell the Assembly when the government will release the review to the ACT public and what it is using for its current strategy?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. It is a very important question and I am more than happy to respond to issues on the NOWaste by 2010 target and the ACT’s strategy. Having said that, I will actually have a discussion today with my colleague the minister for environment in relation to the separation of responsibilities between me and the minister for environment in relation to waste. For the information of members, there is some little overlap which we perhaps have not described or articulated as well as we might.