Page 2212 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 August 2015

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MS LAWDER: Minister, will the proposed extension to Russell cost in excess of $1 billion?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Lawder for the supplementary. As those members opposite know, the government has set out the process by which we will be ascertaining whether or not to proceed to a Russell extension as part of stage 1 and the business case processes associated with that. I refer Ms Lawder to my previous answers in this place and in the estimates committee in relation to that process.


MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, with the federal Liberal government’s slash and burn approach to job cuts that continues to hurt Canberrans, can you please update the Assembly on how this budget and previous budgets have been creating and sustaining jobs, particularly through infrastructure projects within your Health portfolio?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for her question. This budget alone invests $1.5 billion to increase and support health services for the Canberra community. That means investing in better services, better equipment, better facilities and more beds. Through the health infrastructure program, in this and in many previous budgets, we have already completed large infrastructure project facilities for Canberra, including the Canberra Regional Cancer Centre, the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children and the nurse-led walk-in centres for Belconnen and Tuggeranong.

All of these projects are generating jobs for Canberrans. Indeed, more than 2.4 million working hours have been achieved through the development of the health infrastructure program to date. That means the working hours of Canberrans—hundreds of Canberrans who have been supported in their jobs by these projects.

Let us look at what that breaks down to: over 200,000 working hours on the southern car park at the Canberra Hospital, over 287,000 working hours on the adult mental health unit, and nearly 700,000 hours on the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. These facilities are of course now completed, and they are providing essential services to support the delivery of health services in our city.

In this year’s budget we are providing funding for a range of additional projects that will also support jobs and investment in our city. In particular, there is a $17.3 million investment in a central sterilising services facility, a $2½ million redevelopment at Canberra Hospital to provide for more bed capacity, and a grant to help fund 400 extra car parking spaces at the University of Canberra public hospital. This brings the total health infrastructure projects investment to more than $900 million since 2009.

We all understand in this place the impact of job cuts on the ACT economy, and we know that since the current federal Liberal government was elected we have seen over 14,000 public servants lose their jobs in Canberra. But the response by this government has been to invest in key infrastructure projects, including in the health services portfolio—

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