Budget Estimates scrutiny hearings have descended to a new low, with the Human Services Minister, Jacqui Petrusma, failing to provide any detail on cuts in her portfolio and Liberal MPs running regular interference to shield her when the going got a bit tough, Greens Human Services spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said today.
"With $99.1million to be cut from the Department of Health and Human Services over four years, the Minister should have been able to detail how much of those cuts would come from Housing, Disabilities, Community Services and Children,” Ms O’Connor said.
"The Minister persistently refused to say how the budget cuts would affect her portfolio areas and the Tasmanians they support.”
"It beggars belief that, more than five months after becoming Minister and with the 'benefit' of a late Budget, she doesn't know.”
"The Minister is either being wilfully evasive over cuts in her department, or she is incompetent.”
"The truth is likely to be that the Minister knows exactly what the savings task on her portfolio is, but doesn't want to share the bad news with Tasmanians through the budget scrutiny process.”
“Members of the public, stakeholders and MPs all rely on Budget estimates providing a real opportunity to drill down to the detail of government policy and funding priorities, but this performance by the Liberal government has reduced it to a sham.”
“This woeful performance by Liberal Ministers, and Liberal backbenchers running a protection racket on their behalf, is not only frustrating to other members seeking answers on behalf of stakeholders and our constituents, it is also treating with contempt this important parliamentary accountability mechanism,” Ms O’Connor said.