Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF
Tasmanians are sleeping in tents because they cannot find a home. People are dying on the elective surgery waiting list, or while waiting for an ambulance or ramped outside emergency departments. We have industrial action from essential workers from across the State Service: firefighters, child safety officers, paramedics, and nurses. Tomorrow, teachers are taking to the streets. All feel undervalued and deprioritised yet you push ahead with your unnecessary fantasy football megastadium and tell Tasmanians you are committed to the state chipping in close to half a billion dollars to make it happen. Where did you go so wrong with your priorities? Is this the Government of heart you promised Tasmanians you would lead?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. Our priorities are very clear. Our priorities are health, education, building capacity across our public service, supporting our child protection employees and recruiting more. I understand that recruitment is progressing well when it comes to supporting people and building capacity within our child protection and safety services. These will always be the priorities of our Government; I want to make that very clear. Hospitals, schools, public housing - and our budget clearly demonstrates that. Whatever you might say, our budget clearly demonstrates the investment we are putting in to all those key areas across Tasmania.
They are essential services that Tasmanians care about, such as the investment in elective surgery. The member mentioned waiting lists. They are coming down from 12 200 in January 2021 to around 9200 now on our elective surgery waiting list. Our focus has been very clear in that area, working with clinicians on our clinician-led, patient-focused four-year plan. By listening to people working at the coalface and backing that up with investment, we are seeing a significant drop when it comes to our elective surgery waiting list. I say they are still too high. I have always said that, but it is coming down and heading in the right direction because of our investment.
There is our investment into affordable housing and public housing. Our commitment of over $1.5 billion over the course of the next 10 years highlights our focus, and this is a priority for our Government. Every single Tasmanian, absolutely and fundamentally deserves and has that fundamental right to be safe and a have a roof over their heads. That is the focus of our Government.
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr ROCKLIFF - That is why we are reforming when it comes to Housing Tasmania. Shame on you for being the roadblock when it comes to that reform which allows more.
The cost of living focus is another priority area for our Government, with $305 million of concessions, the $17 million we are investing into the winter bill buster, the $5 million supporting the organisations that support vulnerable Tasmanians.
There are also the reforms we are making in mental health. I acknowledge the Mental Health Council of Tasmania representatives here today. I will be speaking about Mental Health Week later on, particularly at lunch time. There are significant reforms into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, some $45 million investment in reforming that area and ensuring we have more services to support our children and adolescents when it comes to mental health. We are reforming mental health in terms of integration, with new programs such as PACER, our Police, Ambulance, and Clinician Early Response team, mental health clinicians, and emergency response team.
Since January this year, 1000 people have been supported in the community, and 80 per cent of those people have been cared for in the community by that emergency response team triaging and supporting people with acute mental illness who would otherwise have gone to an emergency department.
These are the investments and reforms we are making as a Government. They signal very clearly the priorities of this Government. They always will be.