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Health Transparency


Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Tags: Health

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, we have been here before and I hope we will not be here talking about these issues for too much longer. I object to the personalisation of this issue. It is clear that what is at play in Tasmania is a structural underfunding by the Liberal Party of the health system. That has now been substantiated through evidence presented by a number of reports, particularly by the KPMG report which the Government has still not released.

This is a central problem for this Government. Its secrecy, obfuscation on RTI requests, denial to provide information which should be in the public domain about how public monies are used in the public health system to create services that will keep people well for longer. That is what we are here for. Our job should be to keep people well for longer so they can live happier, healthier lives. Let us not get into costing the productivity of a life and all that focus on the value of a person as a productive asset in the economic system. Let us go back to what human beings want: we want to live happy, healthy lives.

The principle here is the structural underfunding of the health system by this Government. That has been obvious to those of us who looked at the $210 million that came out in the 2014 state budget that was removed out of the health system, $100 million went back in the next year and still $110 million down. There is no surprise at all that the KPMG report, which has been leaked, points to a persistent structural deficit, 'Structural deficit at $96.4 million in 2015-16 rising to $100 million in 2016-17.'

The Health minister is on record for saying numbers of time that the figures in the KPMG report do not take into account the spending increases in the last state Budget. Show us the figures. Show us the report, minister and stop hiding because we cannot make any sense of statements you make like that when you refuse to hide the underlying analysis that has been done of the structural deficit of an independent auditing body, an internationally-respected body, such as KPMG.

The other problem this Government has, the same problem in another area, again, refusing to release very important documents that clearly ought to be made public, this time about the functioning of the operations of the Tasmanian Health Service executive and the Deloitte report which the minister refused to release, clearly because it contained damning information about the poor senior management culture within the Tasmanian Health Service executive.

The minister and the Government have undertaken a structural review and changed the functioning of the Tasmanian Health Service and that no longer exists in the form it was and that is fine. There seems to be some things which are dealing with the problems people have been talking about loudly for two years beforehand but what has not happened is that report has not been released.

People who care about and are involved in the operations of the Tasmanian health system, the hospital system, can look and see whether all the matters raised in that report have been attended to. There may well be other things which the minister, the department, for whatever reason, decided they did not want to undertake. That should be something that everyone in Tasmania who is interested, gets to have a look at. I doubt everyone will want to read that report -

Mr Ferguson - Let me help you out. A very frank summary of that report has been released. I am not sure if you have seen it?

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, we get summaries and we also get media releases from your department about matters that really should be in the public domain.

We have a health inquiry that the upper House has reported to the media about yesterday including the fact that your Government is refusing to release two central reports to that inquiry. The upper House does not hold public inquiries to investigate a matter and expect the government of the day to resist releasing information that should be in the public domain. It really is a disgrace. There are some things in health that cost money and there are some things that do not. I suggest that being open and transparent does not cost anything, especially if you have the confidence of your convictions and you have some confidence in the department that you are running.

It signals to Tasmania that the minister does not have confidence in the manner in which his department is being run. It signals that he does not have confidence in the operations that he is in charge of, otherwise, why else would he be hiding it? At the end, if the other two things are not true, it signals that the minister does not have confidence in his convictions.

If the Liberal Party has particular convictions that they are using to choose to run our health system in the way they are, then they should have the guts to stand up to their convictions and be open about what they are doing.

One of the worst things for a chronically underfunded health system, is not to include as many people as possible to be able to be involved in repairing it.

Time expired.