Page 490 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 19 February 2020

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What I am pleased to do is to advise Canberrans that they are eligible from 1 July this year. We are pleased that that is recognised across jurisdictions as well. We are pleased to continue to work across the jurisdictions. We are pleased to work—

Opposition members interjecting

MR RAMSAY: I note the interjection. I know it would not generally be appropriate to respond to interjections but the interjectors are asking why it was being done in the first place. I again refer opposition members to my previous answer, the very first answer that I gave today. That was that it was being done alongside other jurisdictions, and that it was important to be able to keep matters in line with those other jurisdictions. We are working alongside other jurisdictions now to change the date back to 60.

Government—health system

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the ROGS data tells us that each and every Canberran pays $1,000 more per head for public hospitals than people in other jurisdictions. Your mid-year budget cash injection of $60 million will add approximately $140 to that bill. Minister, why is the ACT Labor-Greens government propping up, by your admission, an inefficient health system by assuming that it has unfettered access to the wallets of Canberrans?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. I reject the way that she has interpreted that. We know that the ACT health system, and we have known for a very long time, is more expensive than that of other jurisdictions. We see that across a range of human services in the ACT.

We continue to provide the number of beds per thousand of population that we have for the past few years, and we have seen some of those efficiencies come down. In fact, I know that I provided a response to a question on notice asked by Mrs Dunne recently that showed a significant improvement in some of the relative costs for the ACT compared with the national efficient price and compared with our peer hospitals just a few years ago.

There is a lot of work underway to continue to improve the efficiency of our hospital system and our health system, and we will continue to make those investments. But, as I said yesterday, in the past 12 months we have been really focused on ensuring that we can address some of the issues that were identified in the culture review, that we can build a climate of trust, a climate where people want to come forward with innovative ideas to improve the efficiency of the system. I can assure members opposite and other Canberrans that we are very focused on improving the efficiency of our system.

Yesterday the questions were about why we were improving the efficiency of our system. Today they are about why we are not improving the efficiency of our system. If the opposition could get one message, if they could have one policy in the health space, that would be very helpful for them.

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