Page 442 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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response to those professionals that we have that have worked on the arboretum and their concerns about climate change and the work that the arboretum can do to mitigate some of the carbon footprint we have in the ACT.

Just on the Chief Minister’s comments, it was wonderful for her to recognise some of those important people that have been foundation, I guess, participants in the work on the arboretum: John Mackay, who used to be my boss years ago; of course, Jocelyn Plovits, who has done so much work, as the Chief Minister mentioned, for the Friends of the National Arboretum; but also ACTEW’s corporate association with the arboretum; and the Village Building Company. I know that Village are very keen on the work there.

But it is not just Village Building Company in our, I guess, commercial enterprises in the ACT that have been supportive. The Canberra Business Council had a dinner there recently, and many people attended that—I know Ms Porter did—on 7 February. The Canberra Business Council say that they have long recognised the potential for the arboretum to become a national and international tourist destination in its own right, a unique resource that will complement the other national attractions in Canberra and greatly enhance the tourism industry. They held their dinner there, as I said—the summer soiree, they call it—amid the forests on 7 February.

So thanks once again for all those contributions to this important motion.

Motion agreed to.

Hospital emergency department waiting times

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.48): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) acknowledges the outstanding work of staff in The Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital Emergency Departments; and

(2) requests that the Auditor-General conduct a performance audit of Emergency Department waiting times in the ACT as a matter of priority.

At the outset, let me make it very clear that this is a genuine attempt from the opposition to improve the performance of our emergency departments. There are politics in everything that we do, but at its core this is about making improvements in our health system and making sure that we get a better result for the people of Canberra. I could have the opportunity to bang on about emergency departments for the next four years, but what I want to do is something constructive. I want to provide a way ahead, a solution that should be palatable to all, that has someone who has expertise, is thoroughly apolitical, address the issues that we have in our emergency departments.

There is a reality that the waiting times have reached a crisis point in the ED. Our staff are under enormous pressure. I know that I often get criticism from the government about my comments and their effect on staff but when I talk to staff what

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