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Health - Efficiency Dividends and Budget Cuts


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Tags: Health, Efficiency Dividend, Budget Cuts, Hospital Beds

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

Tasmanians alarmed at the running down of the state's health system under your Government are now reeling from news that staff have been warned to brace for a $50 million cut from the Royal Hobart Hospital where patients have died in the Emergency Ward, ambulances are ramped eight and nine deep on a nightly basis, and clinical staff are crying out for adequate resourcing and leadership.

Instead of listening, you sacked the previous minister and installed one of your less experienced ministers in this critical role, a minister who inexplicably remains on the backbench. Then your new minister had a $50 million cut to the RHH dumped on her.

Do you support your Treasurer's claims on the news last night that the hospital can absorb $50 million being slashed from its budget? What areas of the hospital will this massive budget cut come from?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I welcome the question from the member. I point out that Ms Courtney remains in Cabinet with this important job to do. She has my full confidence, as indeed did Mr Ferguson. He, as I said, was responsible, with this Government and the support of a strong budget and a strong economy, to deliver 1000 additional staff to our hospital and the health system, as well as 130 hospital beds that we have opened.

Under this Government, our expenditure for Health has hit around 32 per cent of our total budget which is the second highest proportion of any state budget that is applied to health. That demonstrates our clear commitment to our health system. We are spending over $2 billion more on Health over the coming four years than was in the last Labor-Greens budget. That is demonstrative of our response to increase demand and our increased effort and the priority that we place on health. Not only does this issue remain a priority -

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Mr HODGMAN - I reject her slanderous assertions about the capacity of Sarah Courtney to do the work necessary and the snide remark that was made

Ms O'Connor - I just said inexperience, which is true.

Mr HODGMAN - I would have thought that if you are serious about supporting improvements to our health system, not only might you come up with some policies, but you would support our efforts in improving health services -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. Many people are very interested in the answer to this question. The Premier needs to tell the House where that $50 million, which equates to $1 million a week, will come from out of the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Mrs Rylah - What's the point of order?

Madam SPEAKER - Mrs Rylah, I get to ask those questions. As you know it is not a point of order under the standing orders, but, Premier, I would like to see you progress that matter.

Mr HODGMAN - Certainly. I was going to correct two of the errors in the member's question. The first is in relation to Ms Courtney, herself, who is in Cabinet. Second, I rebut the claim the member has made about the efficiency dividends and their application to Health. I can confirm, and the Treasurer will outline further, that that figure is not right.

We will not, in being an efficient government that lives within its means, impact on frontline services or the services that Tasmanians need. Under this Government, we have improved them. We have invested more and we are responding to increased demand. Record levels of investments will continue under this Government, particularly in areas of need for Tasmanians, whether it be in Health, Education or public housing. The Opposition members demand of us yet, when we deliver, they run. They do not stand by their convictions nor the efforts of government to deliver on the things that Tasmanians need.

We have the strength to stand up for what is important for Tasmanians to deliver and to be an efficient government. What happened when a Labor-Greens government lived beyond the state's means? The state's economy went into recession. You handed more debt to this Government in deficit -

Members interjecting.

Mr HODGMAN - You took our state's economy into recession and thousands of Tasmanians lost their jobs.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. This behaviour is intolerable. I have been away to Speaker school. I am not going to put up with it any more. There will be a bit more discipline.

Mr HODGMAN - We have turned this state around. We will continue to do that. We will be an efficient government and live within our means. We will not in any way compromise the services that Tasmanians need.