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Unions urge Tas Govt to come clean on service cuts

LAST week the CPSU and HACSU called on Lara Giddings to be honest with Tasmanians about the impact the budget will have on services instead of continuing the lie that services won’t be impacted.

“Last year the government tried to tell Tasmanians they would continue to enjoy quality public services despite Agency budgets being cut by $177M,” HACSU Assistant Secretary Tim Jacobson said on April 13. “In reality we have seen a health system plunged in crisis, the mentally ill falling through the cracks, a child protection system that is failing our most vulnerable children, a public housing system that can’t find homes for the most needy and a quarantine border that risks significant failure.” “It’s not good enough for the Premier to hide away until budget day and then say she has no choice other than to further cut vital services. She should be out in the community today talking honestly about the impact budget cuts are having on services and seeking ways to minimise those impacts,” Mr Jacobson said.

Even before any further cuts are announced in the 2012/13 Budget, Agencies will need to make a further $46M in savings on top of the $177M in 2011/12. In addition the Department of Health and Human Services will need to make up the $25M shortfall in savings from the current financial year.

“Tasmanians had better prepare themselves for the unthinkable,” CPSU General Secretary Tom Lynch said. “If you need urgent medical help there will be no guarantee an ambulance will be available to transport you to hospital or that the emergency department will have the capacity to treat you. If you’re a child at risk there’s no guarantee child protection staff will be available to help you. If you’re a mental health patient experiencing a crisis and are in need of support there’s no guarantee help will be available.” “In far too many areas services are already failing sectors of the Tasmanian community. It’s time the government acknowledged the effects its decisions have had and were honest with the community about the impact of any further cuts will have,” Mr Lynch said.

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