Page 1663 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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It is not unlike the discussion about the capacity of the ACT jail. Certainly that was something I focused on very clearly when it came to announcing the expansion. Looking at the debate over the previous couple of years, there were a whole series of measures that people used to make their case publicly about whether they thought the government had done the right thing or the wrong thing and the like. It is one of the reasons why, at the time of announcing the expansion, I actually put onto the JACS website a definition of all the terms because various terms were used in corrections about various measures of capacity and the like. What we have seen over time is that people have used different versions of that in different discussions to make that case. I think we are seeing a little bit of that in this instance.

Specifically on the University of Canberra public hospital, there has been a discussion over a number of years now. As Mr Hanson notes in his remarks, the community has been told that there will be up to or about 200 beds at that facility. This has been repeated, either as extrapolation or as direct quote, in press conferences, stakeholder engagements and even in a national partnership on improving public hospital services. This was the basis of the ACT Greens and, it seems, the Canberra Liberals supporting this project as part of the 2012 ACT election commitment and acknowledging the need for a subacute hospital on the north side.

I think it was clear at the time that all the parties knew that all these beds might not be new beds as such. Some would be effectively transferred from our existing hospitals, thereby freeing up those spaces for more acute or chronic treatment. But it must be said that the actual figure of new and transferred beds discussed in those early days seemed to be subject to conjecture. Again, I am sure this is one of those places where, probably, people have a different account of what they thought was the same thing.

Be that as it may, the public very clearly heard from all of us in this place that there would be up to or about 200 beds at the new north side subacute hospital. So that is where we find ourselves. I have circulated an amendment to Mr Corbell’s amendment, which I now move:

Add new paragraph (2)(b) and (c):

“(b) the Minister for Health to table by the last sitting day in June 2015:

(i) analysis conducted on sub-acute demand in the ACT;

(ii) a clear definition of overnight beds, day places/spaces and equivalency calculations; and

(iii) the total number of new additional sub-acute beds (including day spaces and equivalent) proposed, alongside the transfer of existing spaces; and

(c) the Government to ensure that the ANMF ACT are engaged on future design committees.”.

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