Page 1345 - Week 04 - Thursday, 12 April 2018
When the committee asked why a number of the additional surgeries would take place at the Canberra Hospital, the Deputy Director-General told the committee:
We have 13 theatres, and we have one theatre allocated for life or death situations, mainly obstetrics and trauma. We have four theatres allocated to unplanned surgery—the stuff that comes in through the emergency department—and eight theatres allocated for elective surgery. We have very little capacity in those eight theatres for elective surgery between now and the end of the year. Most of the sessions are allocated out. That is why there is only small growth in that area.
That is, of course, of some concern to the opposition. The fact that they have very little capacity in eight theatres for elective surgery between now and the end of year suggests either that we do not have the capacity that we need or that we are not using it as efficiently as possible. This is certainly something that the opposition has raised before, and we will continue to raise.
The opposition has no problems with this appropriation, including that of the Assembly. Of course, more broadly there are still concerns about the level of borrowings that the territory has, in effect the interest-bearing liabilities, and we also have concerns about the net borrowings for this financial year.
I would also like to flag that the Canberra Liberals are very concerned about the government’s proposed tax on foreign investment. We believe that the increase in the land tax will have a detrimental impact on the number of units available for rent in the ACT. Particularly with regard to units in Canberra, I do not believe that they are in equilibrium. I do not think we should be turning investors away.
That is a different story, I might add, to freestanding homes, where supply is not keeping up with demand, and that is why we are seeing the skyrocketing prices for land in the ACT. We are not seeing skyrocketing prices for units in the ACT, but we are seeing increases in rent. Any additional charge by way of land taxes or rates is highly likely to be passed on and therefore drive up the cost of rent in the ACT.
In conclusion, the opposition will be supporting the two appropriation bills.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (11.00): There are two key items in my ministerial portfolios in this budget review that I would like to raise today, both relating to the Alexander Maconochie Centre. One is integrating Winnunga Nimmityjah’s model of care and enhancing justice health services, and the other is security improvements.
This supplementary budget item provides $8.3 million over 2½ years to enable the government to implement recommendations from the Moss inquiry and enhance justice health services for detainees at the AMC. This includes integrating the Winnunga Nimmityjah model of care to provide holistic health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees within the AMC, as well as providing additional office accommodation for health staff at the Hume Health Centre.