Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Health spokesperson
Health Minister Michael Ferguson was unable to tell us today whether the Commonwealth funding for the Mersey Hospital was a political bandaid designed to get the Federal Liberals past the next election, or just poor negotiation on his part with his colleagues in Canberra.
After months of prevaricating, the Federal Liberal Government has now announced just two years of funding to the Mersey Hospital. What is unclear is how this fits into Minister Ferguson's plan for Tasmania's health system and what will happen to the Mersey in two years time.
While the $148M is welcome, there are huge questions surrounding it. What we are yet to hear is whether the Minister lobbied his Canberra colleagues for longer term funding and how the continuing funding uncertainty will help the Mersey.
We have heard from the Devonport Mayor that he sees the funding provides no long term certainty to the region or the hospital and that it is a bandaid, a claim the Minister didn't deny.
The big question over the Mersey funding remains unanswered. Is this just a standard pork-barrel spend, or did Minister Ferguson fail to negotiate a more secure, long term funding arrangement with his Federal Liberal colleagues?