• Government’s ‘new’ beds already announced or months away
• Nothing in Gutwein’s budget to immediately fix hospitals crisis
• Gutwein hoping Tasmanians will forget three years of pain in pre-election Budget
The Hodgman Government’s fourth State Budget contains nothing to immediately fix the biggest priority facing Tasmanians now and into the future – the crisis in our health and hospitals system.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Hodgman Government and Treasurer Peter Gutwein were sneakily asking Tasmanians to accept they had a plan to fix the crisis but the measures announced today included “new” beds that had either already been announced or would not become available for up to 18 months.
“There is nothing in this Budget to relieve the pressure on our Emergency Departments and to fix our health crisis, particularly at this critical time of the year when we are only days away from the peak winter season for our hospitals,” Ms White said.
“The $650 million ‘injection’ the government is hoping to trick Tasmanians with includes more than $329 million in Federal funding for the Mersey and funding for beds Health Minister Michael Ferguson has already announced.
“The crisis continues and the short-term cash splash that Mr Gutwein announced this afternoon not only fails to fix the crisis, it sees the health budget fall beyond this year when solutions are needed now.
“Of the 106 “new” beds the Treasurer outlined, 70 have already been announced and the remainder – including at the Launceston General Hospital and the Hobart Repat – will take up to 18 months to come online and 10 additional beds in the Royal Hobart Hospital ED will take months to become available because they will require reconfiguration work in the ward.
“There is nothing in this budget for the long-term health of Tasmanians with no commitment to health promotion and preventative health.
“The bigger picture is that governance problems are plaguing our hospitals and the announcement of $6 million over four years for a state-wide operations and command centre needs to put leadership and decision making back at a local level or it will fail.”
Shadow Treasurer Scott Bacon said Mr Gutwein had delivered a pre-election Budget that attempted to gloss over the pain of the past three Hodgman Government Budgets.
“Tasmanians will see right through the Treasurer’s claims that the last three years have been ‘hard work’ for the government and now it is giving back,” Mr Bacon said.
“Mr Gutwein’s claim of ‘hard work’ is shorthand for the pain he has inflicted by cutting services and axing staff for the past three years.”
Rebecca White MP Labor Leader Scott Bacon MP Shadow Treasurer