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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 31 March 2011) . . Page.. 1152 ..

today, and I congratulate them on that. We have the government’s analysis that has been provided, and I thank the government for that. We have our own consultations that are occurring with the community. So we will make our decision in due course.

The minister needs to acknowledge that, if she is going to criticise us for not having a position, that criticism falls equally at her own feet, because she does not have a position either. The last time she demanded that we had a position, if you recall, was over the purchase of Calvary hospital. That was a secret plan that was taken behind closed doors with the Little Company of Mary. It was not taken to the election, and it was then leaked to the Canberra Times in April 2009. We have considered that. She kept carping on, saying: “When are you coming up with a position? When are you coming up with a position?”

We evaluated that, we considered it, and we came up with our position which was in stark contrast to that of the Greens and Labor. They wanted the purchase of Calvary hospital, and we said no. We thought it was an accounting problem the minister was trying to resolve and that it would see the waste of $77 million of taxpayers’ money. In retrospect, we were proved correct, because we considered, we analysed, and we made the right decision. It has been proved that we made the right decision. It is quite clear that we made the right decision, and I am sure that we will make the right decision in this case.

But, as the committee has noted, there is still information lacking. The government is still yet to provide any qualitative, quantitative data that assesses and explains how this networked system will drive efficiencies and effectiveness. It is all anecdotal—trust us, it will do it. Well, I am not prepared to do that. I want to see the evidence, and the government has been unable to do that.

I thank the committee for the work they have done. I think that it is a valuable report. As I said, I do not agree with some of the recommendations and I agree with others. I think it is a very useful document, and I think that it has actually been a useful process. The government could have been more forthright in some of the information that they could have provided. For example, they said we need an additional 400 beds. I asked them to break that down and explain what categories those beds are in, but they refused to do that. They have said that that is part of a cabinet process. I do not see why it would be. They should be open with the community and say, “This is why we need to spend $700 million of taxpayers’ money,” rather than just saying, “Trust us, it is a mix of acute and subacute.” Why not provide us that data? Why not allow us to go through that information so that we can then consult with the experts in the field and ask whether it is the appropriate number of renal beds, or whatever it might be? The government have failed to do that.

Mr Doszpot’s comments—which are his own, I would like to add—are appropriate. As I understand it, what he said—I have only had a quick look at the report and listened to him speak—is that he agrees that two options should be ruled out at this stage but that he has not been satisfied that sufficient evidence has been provided to rule out option A, which is the option that does not involve a new hospital but simply provides 200 beds at Calvary and 200 beds at the Canberra Hospital.

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