Page 979 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 29 March 2011

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Health Amendment Bill 2011

Debate resumed from 17 February 2011, on motion by Mr Corbell, on behalf of Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (4.27): I rise today to speak on the Health Amendment Bill 2011. This bill addresses two issues. I will deal with them separately. Firstly, the bill makes amendments to part 4 and part 5 of the Health Act 1993. The amendment to part 4 provides certainty in respect of the confidentiality obligations for quality assurance committees who assess and evaluate the healthcare providers.

The amendment to part 5 of the act ensures the same certainty in regard to clinical privileges committees. I have been briefed on these changes by the ACT Department of Health and have been assured that no new policy is contained in these amendments, but rather that the need for a complex administrative arrangement has now been removed. I foreshadow that the opposition will be supporting the changes pertaining to the clinical privileges committee and the quality assurance committees.

More interesting is the part of the bill before the Assembly today that pertains to the establishment of a legislative basis for a local hospital network for the ACT. It has been a long road to get here, with the bungling federal Labor government forced to concede that their reform agenda in health was essentially unworkable, inefficient and lacked vital areas of information. I use the word “reform” very loosely. As I will illustrate later, there is very little reform in the federal government’s health reform agenda or in this bill.

This is certainly not the first time that I have risen in this chamber to discuss this issue. I urge my ACT Labor government colleagues to fight for the right of Canberrans to adequate funding from the commonwealth, and I will continue to do so. But as you will recall, Mr Assistant Speaker, in April last year the government had an opportunity to fight for the much-needed funding for the ACT health system. We all know that this health system is under significant pressures due to increased demand and mismanagement, and this government needs as much help as it can get.

But you will recall that last year the government, essentially without much consultation with constituents or stakeholders, was the first, or if not the first was very early, to sign up for the original package of so-called reforms. As the people of Canberra were told that their elective surgery was postponed, while the people of Canberra were trying to get in to see a GP or were waiting in an emergency department, it was the Chief Minister, you will recall, who so readily signed up for these reforms. Reportedly, and I think it was confirmed—certainly he did not deny it—he was more interested in the after party and was saying, “Let’s go to the bar.” He signed up to this deal holus-bolus.

He negotiated away, if you recall, 50 per cent of our GST revenue. It is really only thankfully due to the actions of a couple of the other state premiers, in particular WA

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