Poor results for ACT hospitals
Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson has lashed out at Health Minister Simon Corbell after new revelations that Canberra’s hospitals are underperforming compared with hospitals in other jurisdictions. A National Health Performance Authority reported that only 60 per cent of Canberrans who visit the ACT’s emergency departments manage to access a doctor within the recommended four-hour time period.
On local radio station 2CC, Hanson accused Corbell of having no sincere interest in the health portfolio.
“At least Katy [Gallagher] had a genuine interest in health, but Simon Corbell has ended up with the portfolio by default,” he said.
When Hanson was asked what he would do if he was in government, he responded by saying that he would institute cultural change, a focus on patients, and increase the number of hospital beds.
Hanson also noted that 30 per cent of “our beds” are taken up by NSW patients.
Local mowing business undercut
Shane Rattenbury has defended the ACT Government’s decision to award a grass maintenance contract to an interstate company. CityWide, a company owned by the Melbourne City Council, has taken the place of local small business operator Jeffery Flew who has had to cease his operations as a result of the decision.
“I’ve had to fold up. We used to take pride in our work,” he said.
Rattenbury maintains that the decision is the right one for Canberrans, saying that the Victorian company can offer the same service for nearly half the price of any other contractors. But Shadow Minister for Small Business Andrew Wall has weighed in, arguing that the ACT Government should give preference to local jobs instead of giving contracts to interstate companies.
Rattenbury has claimed that the company will employ local ACT workers.
ACT Government keen to sell public assets
This week it was confirmed that the ACT will be the first jurisdiction in Australia to sign up to the federal government’s asset recycling payment scheme. Under the scheme, the federal government will pay an extra 15 per cent on top of the sale price to states and territories that sell public assets on the condition that the proceeds are invested in new infrastructure projects.
Everything is on the table, and the Property Council of Australia has given its support to the ACT Government’s plans. Chief Minister Andrew Barr has proposed selling street lights, office buildings, government land and the Northbourne Avenue visitor information centre.
Luckily for the Labor government, the people of the ACT don’t appear as concerned about public asset sales as Queenslanders.
On a federal note…
Many Labor supporters would be scratching their heads right now wondering why federal Labor is not inflaming the leadership speculation currently engulfing the federal government. I mean, it would only be fair, right? The answer… a Prime minister in Malcolm Turnbull would ensure that Labor would most certainly lose the next federal election.