Page 3713 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013

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wants to see more. We will not give up on reform in this area. I am confident that the work that we are undertaking and the approach that we are adopting and the move to a no-fault scheme will be a better outcome for the ACT.

Health Directorate—staff numbers

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, why did the corporate and support division staff in your directorate increase by 11 per cent last year when front-line staff at the Canberra Hospital increased by only four per cent?

MS GALLAGHER: I will have to take that question on notice. I do not know the reason why there would have been an increase. There would have been a good reason for it, though, Mr Coe. I can assure you of that.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question.

MR COE: Minister, what direction does the government give to the directorate on the proportion of staff increases in the hospital compared to front-line support units?

MS GALLAGHER: The government approves the Health Directorate’s budget overall, like it does with all directorates, and we approve additional funds that go into the Health Directorate. We are talking about proportions here, I imagine. We have a workforce of over 5,000 in Health. Where you have small units that might increase by two, I imagine the percentage increase is skewed, for example, against increasing the nursing staff by 70 within a workforce of 3,000 or so.

I can absolutely assure Mr Coe that the biggest components of the increases in employment in the Health Directorate have been nursing staff, health professionals and medical practitioners.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, how important is it to have effective staff in the background supporting the front-line staff?

MS GALLAGHER: It is absolutely essential. We need some staff that provide the services at the coalface, and in the Health Directorate that is the vast majority of staff.

In terms of other areas, though, for example, we have taken on more staff in the capital planning area. That has been to address the contractual changes that we made by not having Thinc Health doing the capital infrastructure project management. We took that back in-house, and that has required additional staff who were already working on the project in some capacity but under a different employment arrangement.

So there are changes. But we do need business support and corporate support and executives to run what is a growing area of government and an important area of government.

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