Labor-Greens government significantly underspends on key health projects


The ACT Labor-Greens government has once again failed to spend a significant amount of money allocated to ACT health projects.

The most recent June 30 figures for the 2021-22 Capital Works Program reveals $60.4 million was allocated for Canberra Health Services projects yet only $46.4 million was spent, an underspend of $14 million.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith claimed last year’s Budget initiatives would “drive improved performance” but that was all talk given only 77 per cent of the money was spent.

Shadow Health Minister Leanne Castley said the figures showed the Labor-Greens government was failing to invest in Canberra’s broken health system.

“Most of these significant health projects are at The Canberra Hospital and it is Canberrans and their families who suffer through compromised and delayed health care,” Ms Castley said.

The $14 million underspend has affected eight major health projects and led to delays of up to 16 months. These projects include:

  • Upgrading buildings at The Canberra Hospital;
  • More public medical imaging services at The Canberra Hospital;
  • Expanded pharmacy services at The Canberra Hospital.

The government has a history of underspending in health. Figures from June 30 2021 reveal almost one third (32 per cent) of $78.2 million promised health funding was not spent, resulting in an underspend of over $25 million on critical health projects.

“The Health Minister has an appalling track record of underspending tens of millions of vital health dollars year after year,” Ms Castley said.

“Our health system is at breaking point and it is astounding to see the Labor-Greens government failing to spend money it has allocated to important projects that are well behind schedule,” Ms Castley concluded.