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Government Failures

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 14 September 2023

Tags: Health Crisis, Housing Crisis

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, perhaps this Government debate should be called Delivering for Tasmanians with an asterix after it to explain that delivering for Tasmanians means 'those people who are wealthy, privileged, who donate to the Liberal Party or who are politically aligned with them'. Also, delivering for Tasmanians is delivering for massive multinational corporations, rather than the everyday people who a truly doing it tough.

The terrible state of the health system continues to be highlighted every day in the media. Everywhere we look we can see how it manifests after 10 years of Liberal government. Just look at the ambulance services. Response to questions on notice from the Greens in Budget Estimates showed Tasmanians that more than 100 paramedic shifts a week on average are going unfilled. That is a shocking situation and it is not one that is improving.

The Greens are being contacted more frequently than ever by patients and health staff about their appalling experiences. A most recent example for us was a copy of yesterday's paramedic roster for north-west Tasmania. It showed more than a dozen unfilled shifts in just one day. Around half of these were night shift. When a shift is unfilled, Ambulance Tasmania either leaves a paramedic to respond by themselves or an ambulance will be taken off the road. Obviously, neither of these situations is acceptable for the community of the north west and nor for the staff who have to work in these intolerable and very stressful situations. Every shift that is not filled has a negative impact on the outcomes for patients and the safety and work conditions for paramedics.

While the Government says it is delivering for Tasmanians, when Tasmanians call an ambulance they have to wait longer here than anywhere else in the nation. Obviously, it is not good enough. We can see the failure to deliver for Tasmanians across the board. Our rents have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels over the last five years under the Liberals. What have they done? They have sat idly by and allowed thousands of Tasmanians to be pushed into financial hardship and towards homelessness, so much of which was preventable.

For years, the Greens have been proposing solutions that would have made life bearable and would have reduced the level of rent stress people are under at the moment. It was a choice the Liberals took. It was a priority. They could have improved renters' rights - and they still can today. They could have offered protection from unreasonable rent hikes, but instead the Liberals delivered not one, but two, land tax cuts for property investors. They gave a $100 000 grant to the landlord lobby group who campaigned on their own behalf at the state election.

They watched the public housing waiting list double in size, and they put no money or energy into building houses across that time. They have watched homelessness in Tasmania grow at a faster rate than anywhere in the country, at the same time as they gave the thumbs up to hundreds of homes being ripped out of the rental market and put into short stay accommodation.

Shame on the Liberals for pretending this is a problem councils could be dealing with and are not. Shame on the Minister for Planning for pretending it is not something he can change through a planning directive.

We have seen nearly 200 Metro bus services cancelled under the Liberals. In my electorate of Franklin, communities are being hit incredibly hard, especially those who rely more and more on buses to get to work and for shifts at all hours. Instead of making essential public transport part of the public service and creating a public transport authority as the Greens propose, they have throttled the funds under Mr Ferguson, trying to force Metro to behave as a profit-making business. Risdon Vale has seen nearly a fifth of its services cut. That is not delivering for Tasmanians, that is just delivering for political Liberal ideology.

So who are they delivering for? Well, they are not delivering for everyday Tasmanians, but the Liberals are delivering huge concessions to the companies that pay the lowest royalties, who are profiting from our natural assets, for the mining companies in Tasmania that pay the lowest royalty rates in the country into our Government budget. They are delivering for fish farm operators fees, which are laughably low compared to other jurisdictions.

They are leasing out parts of Tasmania's wilderness for a song, and property developers are racking in enormous profits on windfall gains. Rather than for delivering for Tasmanians, they are delivering a blank cheque to the AFL, promising to build them an unnecessary stadium at Hobart, no matter what the cost - and we will pay all the penalties for it not being delivered on time. Let us not forget the casino tax rates for pokie machines and the sweetheart deal they did with the Federal Group, which was kept secret from Tasmanians and delivered Federal Group everything they wanted. It has cost our state Budget hundreds of millions of dollars in foregone revenue. As expected, the Liberals recently announced they are delivering their donors in the Property Council the anti-democratic planning reforms that they have long been salivating to get.

These are the choices that have been made by the Government. They are choosing profits over people and place every single time. The Greens know there is another way to govern. We believe Tasmania can be fairer and kinder, and have a greener future.

Tens of thousands of Tasmanians are having an incredibly hard time every single day. They are being let down by a government that has, for almost a decade, done nothing in their interests. We are fighting for the renters. We are fighting for a better health system. We are fighting for real cost of living relief that is sitting here on the table.

The action taken by the Greens' housing minister from 2010 to 2014 when 10 000 public housing properties were made energy efficient means 10 000 families and individuals living in public housing in Tasmania are paying less on their power costs. This is what this Housing minister can do, but unfortunately the Liberals are showing again that they are not standing with everyday Tasmanians - just the top end of town.