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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 12 April 2018) . . Page.. 1344 ..

Second, the Committee notes that it was provided with equivocal answers to its question as to whether money had been expended—in connection with the demolition work at Campbell Primary School—before it was appropriated. The Committee considers that the appropriation process—in which money proposed for expenditure by the government is considered, debated and voted on by the Legislative Assembly—is an integral part of our political system, and is essential to financial probity in government. In view of this the Committee wishes to put the view that future expenditures should clearly follow appropriations for that purpose, rather than the reverse.

In effect, whilst the appropriation did state that the money was needed for the demolition at Campbell Primary School, the demolition at Campbell Primary School had already begun—begun before the vote today—which of course suggests that the underlying reason for the appropriation was not necessarily accurate.

Section 3.52 of the committee report states:

Third, the Committee notes the implementation of a project to provide laptops to ACT public school students from Year 7 to Year 11 inclusive, without clear criteria for review or for what could be considered ‘success’ in terms of the project. The Committee notes that best practice involves formulating success criteria for projects before implementation, and considers that this should be the approach taken in the future.

Section 3.53 says that, in light of this, the committee makes a recommendation. I am pleased that the government’s response has taken that on board.

With regard to the Health spending in this appropriation, in the opening statement the minister for health stated:

… a $6.4 million funding boost to elective surgery, which will see 600 additional patients receive treatment within recommended time frames this year, and help ACT Health achieve more than 13,000 elective surgeries in this financial year. This will be accomplished by delivering more surgeries in the public and private systems by increasing the allocation of operating sessions to specialties with high demand, such as paediatric and adult general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, urology and gynaecological surgery.

In hearings, the committee asked questions regarding this $6.4 million funding for elective surgery. In particular, it asked whether this would take place over the following three months, which the minister confirmed. The committee also asked how ACT Health proposed to identify and service the additional 600 surgery patients over that time frame. The committee report states that, in responding to the question, the Deputy Director-General, Canberra Hospital, told the committee:

We will be using all of the private sector that has capacity to assist us in delivering these services. We are using Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce, and, in a small number of cases, TCH, where we have identified that we have the workforce to deliver these services. We have a process in train where we have already started looking at these patients, to get the work undertaken by 30 June.

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