Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP has said that in balance of power in the Senate after the next election, the Greens will use their power to push the next Federal Government to boost Tasmania’s public hospitals, unveiling the Party’s plan to deliver over half a billion dollars to ensure that Tasmania can meet growing demand.
Under the plan, the Federal Government would fund a 50% share of hospital funding growth, delivering an extra $159.7 million for Tasmania’s hospitals over the next decade on top of existing Commonwealth funding. Many State Premiers have called for the Commonwealth to shift to a 50:50 funding model. The Greens would also provide $67.8 million to Tasmania over the next two years to help eliminate elective surgery waiting lists, helping clear the backlog of surgeries that have built up during the COVID epidemic.
The Greens would also directly invest in a $352.5 million Tasmanian hospital funding package, designed to address longstanding funding shortfalls and invest in capital works in the North and South of the state.
This package would offer $332.5 million toward the completion of Stage 3 of Royal Hobart Hospital’s master plan, funding 50% of the total cost for the new campus at the Repatriation Hospital site for the delivery of sub-acute and mental health services.
We will also contribute $20 million towards progressing Stage 2 of the Mental Health Precinct at North West Regional Hospital, providing 50% of the total cost of the expansion. Polling and history suggests a power sharing Parliament is likely, with the Greens in line to secure Senate balance of power in their own right.
Lines attributable to Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP:
“Years of cuts and underfunding have left Tasmania’s public health system at breaking point,” Mr Bandt said.
“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on how stretched Tasmania’s public hospital system is. Staff are doing an incredible job with limited resources, but until the Federal Government funds Tasmania’s hospitals fairly, locals are missing out.
“Before the pandemic, Tasmanian public hospitals had the longest median wait times of anywhere in the country. Tasmanians had to wait for twice as long as people in Victoria to access elective surgery, with a common 55 day wait to get essential medical care.
“Public hospital delays hurt. You shouldn’t have to suffer through extra months waiting to get a hip replacement or your tonsils out, just because of which state you live in.
“The Greens plan will also help clear the elective surgery backlog, which has grown during the pandemic.
“For Tasmanians, better health starts with kicking the Liberals out and putting Peter Whish-Wilson back into the Senate.
“In balance of power, the Greens will kick the Liberals out and demand a better deal for Tasmanians.”
Lines attributable to Greens Senator for Tasmania, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:
“This massive hospitals funding program is the perfect accompaniment to the Greens plan to put mental health into Medicare so everyone can access the care they need.
“We need to make sure that the Federal Government can no longer pass the buck for health services to the states, because it’s left thousands of Tasmanians paying the price with their health.
“Everyone in Tasmania knows someone that’s been impacted by hospital understaffing, long waiting lists, or held up at the emergency department.
“I was in the emergency department myself this week and saw firsthand how hard our medical staff have it, they need more room and resources to cope.
“The staff are doing the best they can, but they shouldn’t be pushed to breaking point by a government that’s too cheap to fund hospitals properly.
“This funding package will make up for years of neglect, and set up Tasmanians with the infrastructure they need for the future.
“In both Hobart and Burnie, locals will be able to access mental health support, and new infrastructure will broaden the services offered at both the Royal Hobart and North West Hospitals.
“Tassie locals deserve the best healthcare. The Greens have a plan to give it to them.”