Page 5096 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 17 November 2009

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Galilee day program

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services and relates to her earlier answers regarding the Galilee day program. Minister, last week in answer to a question you indicated to the Assembly that the Galilee day program may indeed cease at the end of December. In answer to Mr Seselja’s question today, you changed your story to state that it was the Uriarra Indigenous program. Minister, the question asked of you last week referred to the Galilee day program. In fact, the question mentioned the Galilee day program on three separate occasions. Minister, your answer was that the program may indeed cease at the end of December. I ask you again: did you mislead the Assembly last week in question time and will you apologise and correct the record now?

MS BURCH: As I have said in response to Mr Seselja’s question, my response last week was in regard to the Uriarra program. That is administered on site as part of the Galilee program. It is administered through Galilee. It was offered on the Galilee day program site for a while. My response was in regard to the Uriarra day program.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?

MR SMYTH: Minister, were you wrong in answering the question last week and will you now apologise and correct the record?

MS BURCH: If they are seeking an apology as well as a clarification, I am—

Mr Smyth: Then withdraw.

MS BURCH: The clarification has been made. If it makes the gentleman on the other side feel better to have an apology, I am happy to offer it.

Hospitals—Calvary Public Hospital

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, can you explain to the Assembly the economic benefits of the proposal to transfer the governance and operations of Calvary hospital to the ACT government?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for her question. This is a very important question about the future of our health system and, indeed, a very important question for this Assembly as a whole to resolve. The plan that we need to consider is the need to invest upwards of $200 million in the north side campus to increase our service capacity of our public health system.

The question that faces the government and, indeed, faces the Assembly is: how do we finance this in a way that our budget can afford? Do we provide more than $200 million to a third party, essentially as a gift, or do we make the investment in an asset that the government owns on behalf of the community?

Gifting this money has consequences for our budget which, in turn, has consequences for the economy. This is not something that I think some of the economic analyses

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