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Local Government - KGV Hydrotherapy Pool

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tags: State Budget, Local Government, Privatisation

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. I want to move now to the KGV hydrotherapy pool at Glenorchy. We've been made aware of some issues by Arthritis Tasmania, who our office has been in contact with since early last year. We understand the KGV facility is leased by Glenorchy City Council to a physio practice called Revive Motional Health, who then sub let the hydrotherapy pool to St Giles.

Our first concern is that St Giles raised the hire cost of the pool from $55 an hour to $200 an hour, effectively pricing out Arthritis Tas from using the pool. Second, Arthritis Tas then had their access to the pool reduced by two hours a week, further limiting their ability to provide therapy sessions. The council has now said the pool is closed for repairs and we've heard there are difficulties with the contractual relationship between Revive and St Giles.

Minister, the pool and facility are the result of public funding. The facility should be publicly accessible and affordable for community therapeutic purposes. The council has effectively privatised a public facility, which is now closed.

Through you or to you, will the director of Local Government investigate Glenorchy Council's performance and financial management of this facility, including the kind of contract that the council's entered into regarding the management of the facility and whether it's in the community and ratepayers' best interests?

Mr JAENSCH - I thank the member for her question. I don't have any advice on this situation. It sounds like a matter for the council itself. I'm unaware of any obligations it may have regarding any funding agreements or other arrangements which might have determined what that money was to be used for and who it was to benefit.

Dr WOODRUFF - It was public funding.

CHAIR - Minister, before you continue, the only part of the question that's relevant in this particular hearing is the question through the minister to the director of Local Government about whether he would investigate the Glenorchy City Council. The minister can't answer questions about leases that have been entered into by the Glenorchy City Council nor should he be expected to.

Dr WOODRUFF - Unless there's a question, as there is implicit in my question, about the arrangements -

CHAIR - Dr Woodruff, I am speaking.

Dr WOODRUFF - You interrupted me, Chair.

CHAIR - As I am entitled to, Dr Woodruff. I beg your pardon, we do not deal with implicit questions here and what's implied in questions. I'm telling you what is relevant to this particular committee hearing about the questions that you just asked. I am ruling that the minister cannot be expected to answer questions about leases the Glenorchy City Council have entered into.

You then finished your question by asking, through the minister, whether the director of Local Government would investigate the Glenorchy City Council. I'll allow the minister to answer that question and if he wants to direct it to the director of Local Government, he can.

Dr WOODRUFF - Chair, a point of clarification. It was not a question about investigating the Glenorchy City Council. That is not the case. The question was about investigating Glenorchy City Council's financial management of this facility and their contractual arrangement -

CHAIR - What is the difference between I said and what you said, Dr Woodruff?

Dr WOODRUFF - Can we let the minister answer the question since that's what we're here to do, scrutinise the minister? He can decide what he wants to answer.

CHAIR - No, I decide, as the Chair, what is in and out of order when the questions are being asked in this committee, Dr Woodruff, as you well understand. What I am ruling on is what part of the question was relevant to this committee and what part wasn't.

Dr WOODRUFF - Right, now they can answer. There is nothing out of order in my question.

CHAIR - There absolutely was.

Dr WOODRUFF - No, there wasn't. It had a question to the minister -

CHAIR - Dr Woodruff, if you continue to reflect on the Chair, I will do what I haven't had to do for the first two-and-half days and that is name a member and ask you to leave.

I call the minister.

Mr JAENSCH - We don't have an awareness of the detail of the case. The Chair is right in terms of the scope of questioning here. If you want to send me information on this situation then I can get some advice on it. I suggest that's a letter to me rather than a question on notice, if it's out of scope of the hearing.

I offer to help to get an understanding of that situation and get some advice on what elements of it could be looked into, but I don't know enough about it yet. If you want to send me information I can get some advice on it.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you. My understanding is Ms O'Connor office has sent you information or been in touch with you about this matter. I will follow that up and do so.