Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 June 2009) . . Page.. 2310 ..
midway through November. At that point in time, those discussions were in the very early stage and the Little Company of Mary had requested of me that I keep those discussions, at that point in time, confidential while they went through their own processes and considered their own response to the discussions we were having within government.
I think I have been pretty clear about that. The plans for health remain the same. We wanted to invest a billion dollars in the healthcare system. That was the plan that we went to the election with, and that was the plan that was endorsed by the community, as it turned out, in stark contrast to the opposition’s plans for health, which were to remove the growth funding that we had allocated responsibly.
Mr Seselja: No, it wasn’t.
MS GALLAGHER: Not allocated to health, anyway. You did not allocate it to health. I do not know what you were going to do with it; it was not allocated to health.
The government’s plans were clear. We were the only party with a vision for health and the long-term strategic vision for health in the ACT. That included a massive rebuild of both our public hospitals. The discussions that we have had today very much go to those plans to implement that plan for the rebuild of the health system. In terms of the budget, in terms of how we can invest that money in Calvary health care, we genuinely believe that it is going to be a lot easier for our budget to withstand that level of investment if it is done on an asset that we own.
I do think it is interesting, though, that yet again we have an example from the opposition where they do not actually have a view on this. They will criticise and they will carp on the sidelines—
Mr Seselja: You haven’t put a case. You haven’t told us anything about it.
MS GALLAGHER: You know everything about it. You know that the government stands here wanting to purchase Calvary Public Hospital so that we can invest hundreds of millions of dollars into a new hospital, into an asset that the ACT community owns—which it does not own at this point in time. That is what we would like to do. We have given you all that information. What we hear is absolute silence—don’t have a view on it, neither here nor there.
We were clear about our commitments to health. We are delivering on those commitments to health. We stand by our position that we think, in the long-term interests of the health care of this community, it will be a significant advancement if the ACT community owns and operates Calvary Public Hospital.
In relation to my comments and the discussions in August, as I said before the estimates committee inquiry, at that point in time they were early discussions and I had been asked by the Little Company of Mary to keep them in confidence at that point.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja?