Posted on 13. May, 2010 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — I rise to speak in support of this bill. It goes without saying that on the government side of the house we are extremely proud of the record of achievements in the health field of the Bracks and Brumby Labor governments.

It would be remiss of me not to mention that I am equally extremely proud to be the local member for an electorate which has the biggest hospital in Victoria — that is, the Monash Medical Centre, which is part of Southern Health — but of equal importance is that the electorate has the biggest hospital teaching institute in the form of Monash University.

As I mentioned, it goes without saying that we are very proud of the achievements in the health area which are now widely recognised, if not world wide, at least in Australia, and that we have the best health care system that is the envy of every other state.

In that context we understand why the Premier was so tenacious in standing up for the interests of Victoria vis‑a‑vis the federal — —

An honourable member — He sold out.

Mr LIM — He did not sell out. He stood firm, and the federal government came to reconcile with what he wished, and it is only in that context that we understand why we all should be very proud of this system.

This bill is very much a housekeeping measure, so I will not spend too much time on it, but the policy behind it has to be recognised. It is important that I focus on service delivery. This bill reflects the importance of this government, particularly now, recognising the dynamic changes in the need for health care in this state, and that there is a need to adjust and tailor the service of the department accordingly. That is what this bill is all about — it splits the department into two major service providers.

The changes as announced by the Premier were to separate the Department of Human Services into two departments. The new Department of Health will focus on hospitals, health, prevention, mental health and aged care, which is becoming very important now. The Department of Human Services is a major undertaking in its own right and will have responsibility for children, youth and families, housing, disability, concessions and bushfire recovery.

This bill is required to provide the legal mechanism for allocating and transferring property and contracts between the two departments. The bill does this by amending the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, as stated in clause 1 ‘to establish a body corporate known as the Secretary to the Department of Health’. A number of health, disability and other acts are also amended. The secretaries of the two departments are then given the power to deal with property and contracts, including their transfer.

The Department of Human Services was created in 1993 through an amalgamation of the health and community services departments. A number of imperatives have changed since then, as I mentioned earlier. As the Premier said in his announcement of these changes:

The health and human services task had grown significantly since the 1990s, accounting for nearly $4 in every $10 that the state government — —

Business interrupted pursuant to standing orders.

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