Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 May 2015) . . Page.. 1667 ..
In fact, we are only five or six years into that future, and Mr Rattenbury tells us that that was categorically not true, because it is now 374, the magic figure that was always planned and projected.
And Mr Corbell went on:
Yes, it is less than was originally anticipated, but it still provides us with significant capacity into the future.
Well, one could argue he was not very good at foretelling the future. He said it would give us capacity, certainly for the next 20 to 25 years. This minister said it would give us capacity for the next 20 to 25 years—and five years on we know it blew out not just beyond the 300 he said would have capacity for the next 20 to 25 years but beyond the 374. As Mr Wall tells me, we are building more than that. Even 374 is not enough and we are spending tens of millions more.
Who do you trust, Madam Speaker? Do you trust the experts? Do you trust the original design? Do you trust the people who said, “Build something with the capacity for the future. Let’s have 200 beds. Let’s make sure it meets demand,” or do you trust Mr Corbell? Mr Corbell said:
The projected planning for the prison in terms of population gives us real capacity to accommodate growth into the future and certainly gives us a facility in terms of its current bedding configuration, as currently being constructed—not its potential but its current bedding configuration—to meet our needs over the next 25 years or so.
He then went on, in the debates we had in this place where this all got exposed, to change the bed names—he had “operational capacity” versus “real capacity”. In debate I said the language he was using was Orwellian in its nature because he was using all these different terms to describe beds in the prison. And here we are with exactly the same argument. We have the government saying we are going to need 200 beds. We have the minister cutting it, then we have the same minister coming in here saying, “Don’t worry, folks. It’s going to have capacity. We’ve got capacity for years and years out of this,” and then playing names with the beds. All of a sudden the outpatient facilities which were always going to be provided are now called spaces or day beds. There were 250 yesterday; there are 215 today. They are all over the shop.
We will not support this amendment. We will oppose this amendment. I am disappointed in the extreme with Mr Rattenbury, who has seen this up-front and personal with the jail and can read these debates and look at the experience of this minister, Mr Corbell, who is repeating his mistakes of the past. Why is he trimming the budget? Why is he cutting the numbers? I will tell you why: the government are hundreds of millions of dollars in deficit, but the government want to fund a tram. They know they are going to put all their money into the tram. You have a minister who is responsible for capital metro who is also responsible for health. This minister is going to put hundreds of millions into a tram while he is cutting hospital beds. That is outrageous, and we will continue to say so between now and the election and let the people judge. The people will judge whether they want this minister spending his money on a tram while he is also cutting beds or whether they would rather see an investment in health.