Thursday, 15 June 2023
Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee; Reference
That the following matter be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 28 February 2024:
Calvary Public Hospital, with particular reference to:
(a) the impact on health services in the ACT and surrounds;
(b) the effects on other private healthcare providers;
(c) the ACT Government's consultation process before making the decision;
(d) the legal and economic implications of a compulsory acquisition of this nature; and
(e) any other related matters.
The ACT government's decision to build a new, larger, modern northside hospital is a decision for the ACT Legislative Assembly and is appropriately a matter for them. It would be wholly unusual for the Commonwealth parliament to launch an inquiry into a matter that entirely relates to the decision of a state or territory government.
Over the last month I've heard from hundreds of Canberrans, both expressing support for and raising concerns about the ACT government's decision to acquire Calvary Public Hospital. There are genuine concerns, such as how the decision may impact our already small health workforce here in the ACT and what this means for our other faith based institutions in Canberra. These are questions that deserve answers. I believe that there should be an inquiry but that it should be held at the level of government that made the decision.
We recently considered the Restoring Territory Rights Bill, which passed this chamber with broad support. We cannot support territory rights and then continue to cherrypick issues to be the subject of federal interventions where there is no federal jurisdiction over that issue. I will stand up for my community at every step, but I will not undermine our rights to self-government. I've written to the ACT's Chief Minister and Minister for Health asking them to undertake an inquiry into this issue.