Page 953 - Week 03 - Thursday, 28 February 2013
people in those areas to access free out-of-hours healthcare advice for less urgent conditions and that we will again see easing of pressure in those lower categories in the emergency departments.
MR HANSON: Supplementary.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, why have waiting times for ED become worse and worse year by year under your government when you have been promising that they will get better?
MS GALLAGHER: Again, it is a very simplistic question to what requires a complex answer.
Mr Hanson: Just give us a simple answer.
MS GALLAGHER: It is not an easy answer, Mr Hanson. If anyone could just go in and wave a wand and say, “Meet emergency department waiting times now,” don’t you think people would have done it? It is actually very complex. When you drill it down, you have to ask the question why are more people than ever before presenting to Canberra’s emergency department—way more than ever before? Why are they turning up? That is the first question. Why are the pressures on staff as they are? Why is it a political football? Why does the Assembly try to micromanage the emergency department? All of these questions—
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MS GALLAGHER: What you have to do is stay focused on the job at hand, which is dealing with the presentations as they arrive every morning and every evening and dealing with what you deal with. You build up capacity in the hospital. Yes, sometimes growth far exceeds what was anticipated, but I have full confidence in the hospitals, I have full confidence in the management of those hospitals, and I know, from meeting all of the staff there, that everyone is focused. Don’t you think with those staff that the last thing they enjoy seeing is you gloating about the poor performance of ACT hospitals? Don’t you think that is what they hate the most? And it is. What they would actually like is the pressure being taken off to allow them to do their job. That is what I will support them to do every single day that I remain health minister, and I will do it every day you remain over there, Mr Hanson, with absolutely no influence over it at all.
DR BOURKE: My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer outline how the federal government’s industry and innovation statement—“A Plan for Australian jobs”—will benefit the ACT?
MR BARR: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. Members would be aware that the federal government released their industry and innovation statement only recently. The three core strategies in the statement are backing Australian industry to win more