Ms WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for HEALTH, Mr FERGUSON
In the past three years a Canberra-based lobby group for Australia's $2.5 billion a year private pathology industry, along with two of its largest corporate members, have donated over $141 000 to the Tasmanian Branch of the Liberal Party. This makes the private pathology industry among your top donors. These providers are looking for a return on their investment and have been lobbying your government hard to outsource our public hospital pathology services. How many meetings have you had with Pathology Australia, Healthscope, Sonic Healthcare, and their subsidiary, Diagnostics Australia? Have any unsolicited bids from private pathology providers been received by the Coordinator-General? Have any been favourably assessed for public tender? Can you finally rule out the privatisation of public hospital pathology services in this state?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her questions, which she asked me at Estimates, months ago. I know that the member just wants to help build a narrative for her colleague, Ms O'Connor, who wants to run this in private member's time. We have been through this at Estimates over and over again, but I am happy to offer some further comments to reconfirm the answers that I have already provided to her clearly, on the record, and which the member may have already forgotten. I draw the House's attention to an earlier question this year where the same member, Ms Woodruff, asked me about radiology at the Royal, wanting to run a scare campaign about outsourcing, which was entirely without foundation and has been debunked. The member ought to be better informed before bringing such claims into this House.
The unsolicited bids framework is not something I, as a minister, have oversight over. It is deliberately designed to protect at arm's length the unsolicited bids process. I do not know of any unsolicited bids of the nature the member is asking about. This Government does not have a privatisation agenda, as the member will want to allege. The previous government arranged the only outsourced public pathology services in this state.