Page 5554 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009
properly. As I said last night, I am here presenting a proposal that looks at the future of our health system for 350,000 people—indeed, a region of 600,000. That is my job. My job is to look at the best way forward for the public health system for the ACT and the surrounding region. Sometimes that will put me into conflict with small pockets of concern across our community.
Mr Coe: Small pockets?
MS GALLAGHER: Small pockets of concern across the community. I am not downgrading those concerns; I am not saying that those concerns are not real; I am not saying that the government is not working to address those concerns. But I do not think that those concerns are widespread across the community. That is the reality, but that is not to say that I am going to ignore those concerns.
I am working with Mr Hargreaves; I am working within the Labor Party; I am working with the Greens; I am working with the Little Company of Mary; I am working with the Palliative Care Society; I am working with the healthcare consumers; I am working with the ANF; I am working with the staff. I am working with everybody other than the Liberal Party.
Mr Coe interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, don’t shout questions across the chamber. If you want to ask a question, there are plenty of supplementaries. Mr Hanson?
MR HANSON: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, why don’t you come clean and tell the people of Canberra why the inclusion of Clare Holland House is so critically important to the whole Calvary deal?
MS GALLAGHER: I have indicated that to the community a number of times. We are asking Little Company of Mary to remove themselves from almost 30 per cent of the delivery of public health care in the ACT. We never intended to ask them to remove themselves from palliative care. They are the largest palliative care provider in the country. They have been providing palliative care services to the community since 1994, since 2001, under respective governments. There is no question about the quality of the care that is provided through the contract by Little Company of Mary Health Care. For the organisation, for Little Company of Mary, they do not want to leave public health care in the ACT. If they are to leave the hospital, they do not want to be required to leave the hospice. This is the proposal as it stands.
We have asked them to consider their position at the hospital. They have a lease until 2070 to run the public hospital on the north side of Canberra. They have an option to extend that lease past 2070. The government are faced with the need to rebuild our entire health system and we currently do not have ownership or control over 30 per cent of it. It is a pretty simple challenge that the opposition is determined to ignore. This is not based on any breakdown of the relationship. It is not based on any ideological drivers, as Mr Hanson pointed out a number of times last night and which I totally reject. It is based on the challenges presented to the healthcare system in the ACT and it is based on respectful dialogue between the parties about the best way