Page 5243 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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purposes is an equally reasonable approach for the Land Development Agency and indeed for the ACT government in the context of the broader development of the territory over decades into the future. I think that this is an important point to stress. This may not be required for some time but it is appropriate for the ACT government to have the capability to set land aside as an environmental offset.

MR COE: Minister, was a new lease issued or was the old lease transferred? What purpose did the business case include? Was it an offset or a residential development?

MR BARR: I will take the detail of that on notice but I understand that the flexibility that was required in relation to that particular land would allow for both purposes.

Hospitals—emergency waiting times

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. I refer to the AIHW data of 2016-17, which shows that the median waiting time in ACT emergency departments was 30 minutes, the equal worst in the country, along with the Northern Territory. This compares with a national median waiting time of 19 minutes and a median waiting time in New South Wales of 14 minutes. Minister, why did the ACT have the equal worst waiting time in the country for 2016-17?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question and note, indeed, that the median waiting time is 30 minutes. What I also note is that over the past five years the ACT has made the greatest gains on all indicators of emergency department access and waiting times. From 2012-13 the median waiting time has come down from 44 minutes to 30 minutes. That is nearly a 50 per cent reduction in waiting time.

I can also assure the Assembly that ACT Health, and both emergency departments, continue to work very hard on making sure that that median waiting time comes down. It is one measure, and it is an important measure, but I can also guarantee the Canberra community that when they do present, and when all of those people in our region present, to our two emergency departments, they receive excellent, high quality care. I know many members in this place on all sides have, for themselves, their families and friends, also been privy to the very high quality of care we have in our emergency departments.

MRS DUNNE: Minster, why did the emergency departments at both ACT hospitals perform poorly on emergency department timeliness when compared to peer hospitals?

MS FITZHARRIS: I think I answered most of those questions in my previous answer, but I will reiterate that we certainly need to continue to make some improvements but that we have made significant improvements. We have made greater improvements than any other jurisdiction over the past five years, and we will continue to do that.

MRS JONES: Over the past three months, by how much did the median waiting times for ACT emergency departments decline?

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