Page 406 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 18 February 2020

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MRS DUNNE: I note that it took two minutes to say no. Minister, will the government’s midyear cash injection into the ACT health system result in improved elective surgery wait times by the end of 2019?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her supplementary question. What we have seen in elective surgery is an improvement, over the past six to 12 months, in the number of people overdue for elective surgery. We have seen a record number of elective surgeries performed in 2018-19—14,015 elective surgeries performed in 2018-19—and we are on track to deliver 14,250 elective surgeries this year. This is a result of our specific investments in reducing elective surgery wait times, which have come down, I recall, for some categories. We have seen the number of people waiting for longer than is recommended, particularly in category 1, continue to come down. The investments that we have made to deliver that include two new theatres at Calvary—one that opened this year and one that will open next year—to ensure that we can continue to deliver record numbers of elective surgeries and to ensure that we can continue to improve performance in elective surgeries, something that we are already doing.

MR COE: Minister, as of the end of January, were the actual financials consistent with the year-to-date budget?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Coe for his supplementary question. If I understand him correctly, I think he is asking: were we overspent on the point-of-year budget where we expected to be? Obviously, we were over budget at that point in time, which is why the decision was made to provide an additional $60 million to Canberra Health Services to ensure that there was not a need to cut back on elective surgery in the second half of the year or to scrimp and save as a result of the increased demand that we are seeing on our emergency department and the complexity of our emergency department patients and on our demand for emergency surgery, to ensure that we can continue to meet our targets and benchmarks and deliver excellent patient care, person-centred care, to patients in our community for the rest of the year.


MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the performance of the ACT economy?

MR BARR: It is my pleasure to do so. I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. The territory economy grew by three per cent in 2018-19, which was well in advance of the national growth rate of two per cent. I can advise the Assembly that the territory’s gross state product is now approaching $42 billion, and has been growing, as I said, faster than the national average.

As a point of interest, members might be aware that the ACT economy is bigger now than the state of Tasmania’s, and certainly significantly bigger than the Northern Territory’s. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at 3.1 per cent, and our annual employment growth of 3.3 per cent is the highest of all jurisdictions. In

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