All the latest news and views from the CPSU team

Friday wrap: the week at a glance

Services, not surplus

THIS week Premier Will Hodgman spruiked an impending surplus in his May budget.

Meanwhile, the public services people rely on are under pressure thanks to understaffing and children are waiting to receive the help they need, people’s lives are put on hold as court lists take longer to get through and our industries are put at risk with not enough Biosecurity staff on the ground. We’re Mr Hodgman and his Ministers make choices to hand over control of our public services to third parties.

Mercury readers weren’t fooled. Here are some of their comments:

“There should NEVER be a budget surplus while wards remain closed in hospitals, surgery waiting lists are so long and staffing levels for essential services such as nursing and ambulance officers are well below required. All government monies should be reinvested back into the community, not horded into a “surplus” so right wing politicians can slap each other on the back and talk it up!….

“Yeah sure, if the government is meeting all its commitments to the public and there is still monies left over then perhaps then a surplus is acceptable but having a surplus for the sake of a surplus at the cost of basic services is absurd to say the least!

“Running a government is not running a business… they are not there to run at a profit.. they are there to service the community and break even.. any net surplus should always be reinvested directly back into the state and not be used as a political device to attempt to woo voters.” 

“The heading says *Tough choices mean budget surplus early*. In other words the main goal of this government is to achieve surplus at the cost of essential services. Are we the only ones shaking our heads in disbelief at this Liberal Government policy?”

-... we on't be bound by ideo (1)

Elective surgery

Meanwhile Minister Michael Hodgman’s decision to outsource vital elective surgery came under fire as well. As one Examiner reader put it:

“Building capacity and competence in the public system would have been a better way to have long term benefits whilst the health system is being rebirthed in some form by the Minister, better to create lean and strong capacity at home… Rather than paying private providers to do it and then in a few years’ time, not have the capacity again without paying private providers even more.”

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Elective surgery is a core public service – all Tasmanians should be able to receive the operations they need live healthy, happy lives. Instead lives are put on hold while people wait in discomfort for the operations they need.

Former Launceston General Hospital director of surgery Berni Einoder said the $25.9m in funding from the Commonwealth would’ve been better spent in the public system, and the government couldn’t rely on short-term fixes for long-term issues.

‘‘We need adequate staff, adequate infrastructure and adequate funding,’’ Professor Einoder said. Read more here.

waiting list
This week a number of Tasmanians spoke about their experiences waiting for elective surgery.

Beaconsfield man James Farnham dependent on a cocktail of strong medications for pain relief, waiting 12 months so far for surgery. Read more here.




Meanwhile Sue Martin of Miandetta has clocked up three years waiting for a hip replacement,

On reading about Minister Michael Ferguson’s decision to hand over elective surgery to private providers is yet to see one operation performed the cancer survivor said “I didn’t know whether to scream or burst into tears because I was so angry. I’m angry on behalf of all the other people that are waiting to have the surgery they really need.” Read her story here.


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