Page 3051 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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As I said last year—I made quite extensive comments on this matter—it highlights what I consider is the need for there to be more explanation in the budget papers about important matters such as the TBA. What is at present provided is a rather broad, rather technical explanation of the TBA and other matters. There is no insight into, for example, why such a large variation occurred in the balance in the TBA between one budget and the next.

I would add that it would be helpful if the balance in the TBA could be related to appropriate balances that are included in the annual financial statements in budget paper 3. This information would enhance accountability and transparency, and it would facilitate analysis by those who are interested in the matter. I commend the line to the house.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.11—Health Directorate—$896,185,000 (net cost of outputs), $282,739,000 (capital injection) and $727,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $1,179,651,000.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (5.37): That is a lot of money. We do talk about health a lot in this place, and I think we should. If it is not the most important area that we should be looking at, then certainly it rates up amongst the top areas, and I think that all parties in this place would agree with that.

We certainly have some positive aspects to our health system, and I think that we will discuss those at some length in the estimates process. In particular, I think that the point that the minister and I agree on is that the staff that we have here, be they doctors and nurses and across our whole health staff, the administrators as well, are outstanding staff in our health system.

But it is my job to point out where I think that we are failing and where we could do better, in particular in light of this budget. Although it is not the biggest line item, probably the biggest future item that was flagged in this budget, with I think $4 million, was the future growth in our public hospital system, that being a subacute hospital and an expansion of Calvary Public Hospital.

It is worth pointing out that the process to get to this point where we have a broad understanding of what the government is going to do can only be described as a fiasco. We had the plan to purchase Calvary hospital, the $77 million plan, that was leaked in the media after the government denied before the last election that there were any plans. Indeed, there was a heads of agreement that the government had sought from the Little Company of Mary. Then we went through a process where that really fell over, I think in large part due to the lack of consultation and the failure to really sell the scheme, because it did not make any sense. They were using an accountant’s justification for what should have been a health proposal. We then went through a number of options. There were four options. Then we came to a sort of resolution.

I still have some concerns with where we are at. This came out in the Calvary process. I was expecting to see more evidence released by the government that relates to the

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