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Health MPI

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Tags: Health Crisis, Ambulance Ramping

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, the Government is failing unfortunately on every measure that Tasmanians are concerned about. Since they have been in Government they have deluded themselves with thinking that if they just speak to the top end of town, if they just arrange the Budget funding to suit their mates, their party donors and the vested interest that the Liberal Party has become beholden to, that will somehow bestow Tasmanians with the wealth and security that people need in their lives.

Unfortunately the evidence is abundantly clear that there has been a serial, year-on-year underinvestment in public services. That is hardly surprising. The Liberals as a party have form in running down the public service. They have form in believing that the best outcomes will be to let the market rule and to outsource wherever possible taxpayers' money into the hands of private consultants and private companies. There is no doubt that there is a place for that, but the distortion of our public service, the craven return of money from public coffers into private hands has meant that we now have a state where the interests in areas like housing and health, and big investment decisions like the stadium, are being essentially run by a private agenda and a Liberal Party ideological agenda.

What we see is the ideology of the Liberals has got in the way, time and again, from them acting in the best interest of Tasmanians. You only have to look at what has happened to the Health department. When the Liberals came in, in the first Budget they took out $210 million and they put $100 million back in the subsequent year because of community outrage. Every year since then they have failed to invest in the true cost of the increasing burden on the Health budget. Talking about the money that has been spent every year that has gone up, that does not even keep up with CPI.

Health is an expanding part of the economy. It is something that we need to spend money on and it is something that the Liberals have failed to listen to unions in health, failed to listen to the calls for more paramedics that needed to be funded five years ago and every year they have failed to fund them and look where we are now with the ramping crisis that we have in place. They had no plan for nursing retention and recruitment. Look where we are in emergency departments. What a surprise to nobody that the burden on healthcare staff is so great that it is very hard to recruit people in these high pressure extreme, constant emergency situations, like Tasmanian hospitals have become. We have ministers, like minister Ellis, for fire and emergency services, who are so arrogant and pig-headed that they do not listen to the thousands of Tasmanian volunteer firefighters who are calling for a restructuring of the legislation that make sure that they have the support they need at the operational level on the ground in times of crisis and in between times of crisis. He is just another example of a Liberal Party minister who is pursuing ideology and ego-driven decisions without listening to unions and people in the community.

We have Michael Ferguson, the Treasurer and Minister for Planning, who scorns community decisions like what happened with the Clarence Council which was backed entirely by the Clarence community who want their land back in Bellerive. It has been sitting there in the hands of a private Chinese petrochemical developer for years who has done nothing. The council made the decision to buy it back, and what does the minister do? He says, 'We're going to step in and do everything we can to overtake it'.

We want to hear that minister Ferguson will not be compulsorily acquiring that land from the Clarence Council so that he can hand it over to Chambroad in some sneaky little deal to get around the requirements for a major project application. We want to hear that he is going to let go of his constant attacks on councils and communities for making decisions in their long-term interests that do not match with the Liberal Party's agenda for developers. We want to hear the Government listening to the community who do not want a cable car on kunanyi. Three times it has been rejected by the Hobart City Council, TASCAT and the Aboriginal community of Tasmania, but still they want to have a go. They will do what they did in the first place, which is back their mates as they started down that track with Adrian Bold in the very beginning, somebody they knew. One of their mates had a great idea for a business and wanted to get it up and that is what they have done.

The secret expressions of interest process has seen the Tasmanian Liberals take on the whole of the angling community, the bushwalking community, the majority of people who are living in the Central Highlands community - a vast number of people - and especially the whole of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community united together, an unusual collection of fellow travellers who are committed to wilderness and are absolutely determined there will be no way that that part of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area is ever privatised.

The Liberals can continue to pursue their ideological agenda but it stops them doing what Tasmanians want them to do. It stops them focusing on building houses and focusing on solving the problems in the health and hospital system. It means that they are focusing on building a stadium that we should not be spending money on and we do not need, because we deserve a licence in our own right, instead of putting all of that energy, money and time into helping nurses and paramedics who are struggling every day in the hospitals.