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Liberals Treat Estimates with Contempt

11 Jun 2015

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Human Services spokesperson

In now tired and typical fashion, we have seen yet another Liberal Minister obfuscating question after question in Budget Estimates with Liberal backbenchers running interference by asking numerous Dorothy Dixers and raising frivolous points of order to disrupt opposition questioning.

In Estimates today Human Services Minister, Jacquie Petrusma, was repeatedly given cover by her Liberal backbench colleagues, Mr Barnett and Mrs Rylah. If it wasn't so serious it would be laughable, but certainly the Liberals treat Estimates as something of an inconvenient joke.

As it was last year, Minister Petrusma refused to provide details of cuts to Human Services and their impacts on low income Tasmanians.  Ms Petrusma enjoyed the 'protection' of her backbench colleagues who wasted valuable time needed for actual scrutiny with long winded, self congratulatory, scripted questions and answers. 

It treats the Estimates process with contempt.

After failing to persuade her Cabinet colleagues to invest some of the projected $560 million into building new homes for Tasmanians in need, Minister Petrusma failed in Estimates today to justify why none of the $560 million GST windfall would be spent housing Tasmanians in need.

Minister Petrusma's claims that the community sector thanked her for the second Liberal Budget is very hard to believe. Many members of the community sector have raised serious issues with the Budget since its release a fortnight ago, with the general feeling being that it prioritised roads and bridges over services for low income Tasmanians.

Under Minister Petrusma's watch Housing waiting lists have skyrocketed and the Housing Fund is rapidly depleting.  The State Budget does nothing to address this. These are facts that the Minister can't deny.

What has become very clear is that while more senior Ministers have secured significant capital funds in the State Budget, Minister Petrusma has failed to stand up and make her case for Tasmanians who need help the most.