Page 4009 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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Future legislative amendments to improve and amend tax acts will allow the Revenue Office to implement its smarter digital services into a modern and suitable legislative framework. I thank members for their support of this very important area of law reform and commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Health—elective surgery

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Health. The AIHW 2015 report on elective surgery waiting times shows that in 2014-15 ACT public hospital waiting lists had 13,958 removals and also had 14,550 additions. Over the year the ACT elective waiting list grew by 592 patients—the biggest percentage growth, being 4.1 per cent, of any state or territory. The ACT Health website says that there were 4,486 people waiting for surgery. Minister, why, in 2014-15, of all of the states and territories, did the ACT have the highest rate of increase in waiting times for elective surgery?

MR CORBELL: We continue to face significant pressure in relation to the number of additions to the elective surgery waiting list. What we have seen is that the number of additions has been in the order of 55 per cent, and that is despite there being only a 17 per cent increase in the population. That is since 2002-03. So it is an ongoing trend. That is the key challenge that we face as a jurisdiction.

I am very pleased to say that for 2014-15 ACT public hospitals performed 11,875 elective surgery procedures. That is the highest number on record for any year. So we are doing more elective surgeries than ever before and it is a better result even than for the 2013-14 year. And in the first quarter of this calendar year we performed 3,124 elective surgeries. We are seeing increasing growth in additions but we are also seeing record numbers of elective surgery.

Moving forward, my objective as health minister is to significantly reduce the number of long waits. People should not be waiting longer than clinically indicated, and at the moment too many people are. We are going to be taking steps to address that issue.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Why is it, minister, that after nearly 15 years of ACT Labor government, elective surgery waiting lists are still getting longer?

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