Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for HEALTH, Mr FERGUSON
The secret KPMG report shows the truth in hard numbers. You have been systematically underfunding the health service, budget on budget, since you came to office. You refuse to accept the reality of an increasing demand for health services. You have starved doctors and nurses every year of the resources they need to care for patients -
Madam SPEAKER - I take your point, Dr Woodruff. If the Government could practice what they preach that would be great.
Dr WOODRUFF - What this leaked report shows most starkly is the culture of secrecy and deceit that pervades your Government's management style. You persistently hide damning reports and block RTI requests on spurious grounds. You refuse to listen not only to the concerns of doctors, nurses and patients about your deliberate underfunding but your own consultants' reports. Will you stop blaming everyone else, minister, and end your practice of hiding information, obstructing RTI requests and denial? Will you commit to the structural funding increase this KPMG report shows we need?
Madam Speaker, I thank Dr Woodruff for her question. I accept the health system needs more support. That is why we are here. That is what we doing every single year. Dr Woodruff, you were not here, I will grant you that, but the person sitting next to you was. The Labor-Greens government savaged the health budget and we have spent four-and-a-half years rebuilding it. I have been able to put some numbers on the table to indicate that.
I play no role in RTIs and they are done at arm's length from me by the agency under the law. If you are shaking your head as I speak, what you are really saying is, you do trust our public servants. I reject that. You should trust those people because they have to make those judgments, not me. That is how it works.
Mr O'Byrne interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Mr O'Byrne.
Mr FERGUSON - As for openness and transparency, Dr Woodruff, one of the first things this Government did was to publish a paper that put out all our dirty linen. We said that we know we have major problems in our health system.
Ms O'Byrne - Cut $210 million out of health, that was your first -
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Byrne.
Mr FERGUSON - We made it clear and we put it on the table. We said that in some cases, we know we do not have safe services. We have to be brave enough to confront that and we have been. We have had a number of people, including in this Chamber, who said 'Good on you, government, keep doing that' - until the going got tough and they backed right out.
We have changed service delivery so babies are being born in a safer environment in Tasmania. It is saving lives.
What about the dollars? We have put back dollars that the Labor-Greens took out. The recent Budget puts in another -
Dr Woodruff - You have been minister for five years.
Mr FERGUSON - You can count to five? I can count to $465 million; that is what the recent Budget puts in. We will continue to do more. Our focus is not on negative politics, the personal character assassinations, and the lying about our staff around store rooms. Our focus is around helping patients; getting the health system back to what it should be and helping every Tasmanian get access to a health system with less waiting times.