Page 2689 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 23 June 2009

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The ACT Labor government are committed to ensuring that our decisions keep the vision of the Canberra plan in mind. In so doing, I am able to report that we have been working over the past year to ensure strong progress against the seven key themes outlined in The Canberra plan: towards our second century. These themes are quality health care; a fair and safe community; excellent education, quality teaching and skills development; a strong dynamic economy; a vibrant city and great neighbourhoods; a sustainable future; and high quality services.

I am pleased to report that the ACT is doing well in delivering quality health care to the people of Canberra. Community demand for health services is projected to increase rapidly over the next 15 years and beyond. By 2022 the ACT’s public hospital admissions are projected to increase by 77 per cent. The ACT government therefore committed $300 million over four years in the 2008-09 budget and a further $148 million in the 2009-10 budget for the implementation of the capital asset development plan. This plan incorporates the total health system, including new models of care aimed at better management of chronic disease and keeping people out of hospital. It also includes better use of technology and different ways of providing care.

Achievement to date on implementing initiatives in the capital asset development plan has been good, with some notable progress. A temporary operating theatre at the Calvary hospital has been completed and an additional two theatres at the Canberra hospital are well advanced and expected to be completed in August 2009. A tender process for the new state-of-the-art neurosurgery operating theatre equipment is complete. As well, a total of 24 additional beds will be delivered to Canberra Hospital by September 2009.

While working hard to plan and build for our future healthcare needs, we have also remained focused on the immediate healthcare needs of Canberrans. Access health sets the overall direction for public health service in the ACT and states that the government’s top priority is timely access to care based on clinical priority. The document sets out nine key performance indicators against which the progress of ACT health services will be measured. Performance against all these indicators has been strong in the last year. Importantly, we have achieved reduced waiting times in emergency departments, in the ACT government’s dental health program, for elective surgery and for urgent radiotherapy services.

The objective of the fair and safe community theme is to ensure that all Canberrans enjoy the benefits of living in a community that is safe, socially inclusive and respectful of human rights, that all Canberrans are able to fully participate in community life and that the most vulnerable in our community are respected and supported. We recognised the importance of this objective back in 2004 when we released the Canberra social plan, and are about to commence a review of the Canberra social plan to bring the plan up to date for our current times and the times ahead.

The ACT’s human rights legislation was the first in Australia, commencing in 2004. In accordance with the Human Rights Act, the Department of Justice and Community

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