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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4732 ..

Mr Hanson: Did you approve it or didn’t you?

MS GALLAGHER: I was notified of an intention to visit, and I did not raise a problem with that. In fact, the hospital gets very excited when prime ministers of all colours visit, because the staff in the hospital are proud of their work and they are proud to have their work acknowledged—extremely proud—and it would be inappropriate for me to not allow a visit by the Prime Minister, so that she can actually go and see the hard work that our nurses and doctors are doing every day in this city, Mr Hanson. I would expect that the Canberra community would think very poorly of me if I had refused a request from the Prime Minister to visit the Canberra Hospital.

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order on relevance, the question also asked—and she is not addressing this point in the question—whether, at the time that she approved the Prime Minister’s visit, she was aware whether the Canberra Hospital would be receiving funding or not. I ask her to address that element of the question.

MS GALLAGHER: The announcement made by the Prime Minister was to open and request applications for the funds, so, at that point, no, I did not know. Canberra Hospital had not been promised any of the money in some backroom deal or anything like that. It was to announce the $1.8 billion fund open. In terms of whether or not the Canberra Hospital or the ACT health system will benefit from any of this $1.8 billion allocation, I did note the comments in the Canberra Times, I think, recording the visit. But, on that same day, I met with the federal health minister, not around that fund specifically, but around a number of issues, and we discussed the fund. If you look at the guidelines—if you actually take the time to read the guidelines—there is capacity under the criteria for hospitals in our area, in our category, to apply for money within that fund, and we intend to do just that.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson?

MR HANSON: Minister, what representations, beyond the discussions with the minister, have you made to the commonwealth on this issue, and when do you expect to have an answer on what funds will be secured for the Canberra Hospital or, indeed, for Calvary hospital in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: Nice quick amendment to the supplementary based on the fact that I have met with the federal health minister. I have also met and discussed this with our two new federal members for Fraser and Canberra, and I also have a meeting with Mike Kelly set up in the near future as the member for Eden-Monaro to discuss this. So I have made a number of representations. I have also written to the federal health minister, and I have discussed a suitable application for ACT Health to make on behalf of the ACT health system in applications for that fund.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

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