The state needs to devise a better plan for infrastructure spending, says Ruth Forrest
THE annual Budget circus is about to get under way. Will it be the same old vaudeville that we’ll be glad to see the back of after a few frantic weeks, or will we see some fresh performances and displays of leadership? Is it too much to hope for a spirit of greater co-operation to move this state forward a notch or two?
Politics. Next week’s Legislative Council Election will determine if the previously safe seat of Murchison will go to Independent MLC Ruth Forrest or new contender, Daryl Quilliam. The Chronicle asks the candidates about the issues that matter to them.
Carers at the Wynyard Care Centre went on strike for 30 minutes on Friday in industrial action against what the union called a ‘disrespectful’ employer.
About 45 workers and supporters gathered on the corner of Quiggin and Moore Streets at 2.30pm to listen to speeches and vote on further action.
The carers have been trying to negotiate a new agreement with Sydney-based Synovum Care Group since their last one expired in 2013. They overwhelmingly rejected the company’s January proposal, which the Health and Community Services Union said stripped away significant rights and limited pay rises to 1.5 per cent a year.
Major employers in the sawmilling industry in my electorate of Murchison fear job losses if the Government’s plan to unlock currently protected forest proceeds.
Major employers, Ta Ann and Britton Brothers, have indicated their opposition to this move by the Government. Genuine concern has been expressed that jobs are likely be put at risk.
Existing employees too have made it plain they fear job losses.
I have recently been accused of following the dictates of the Salamanca set and voting against the wishes of my electors, so I’m doubly conscious of doing what’s best for my patch as I always seek to do. I am even happier if it coincides with the interests of all Tasmanians.
Failings in our health service delivery have again been highlighted in mainstream and social media. Communities rightly feel let down by State and Federal levels of Government when timely access to care is not available. We are repeatedly informed that the cost of health rises above the rate of inflation and if unchecked could consume the entire State budget in 20 or 30 years’ time. This may be the reality and should not be the end of the discussion.
Health care has historically focussed on the provision of acute, or hospital based, care. A greater focus on, and priority given to, health and wellbeing through wellness promotion, illness prevention, early intervention and chronic disease management programs, is essential. Not just with glossy brochures and words, but funding commitments and action from both State and Federal Governments.
We continue to see the State Government commit, at most, five percent of the State health budget to preventative health measures with acute health services continue to demand more and more money as we fail to keep Tasmanians out of the acute health (hospital) settings. The Federal Government ceased the National Partnership funding for Preventative Health adding further strain to an over-burdened system.
North West Tasmania has some of the poorest health outcomes in the State and nation with high levels of chronic disease and social disadvantage. These realities are known to impact negatively on the health and well-being of individuals.
Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest has raised concern that sections of the Bass Highway in Circular Head require priority upgrades to assist primary producers, forestry contractors and local manufacturers who transport product daily on this highway from Circular Head and Wynyard to other parts of Tasmania.
Ms Forrest is calling on the State and Federal Governments to prioritise this work to ensure business confidence and economic growth is not negatively impacted.
“The Bass Highway west of Burnie has received upgrades over recent years through State and Federal Government funding however key sections of this highway, particularly from Detention River Bridge to Black River, need urgent upgrades” Ms Forrest said.
“It is disappointing that the section of the Bass Highway between the Detention River Bridge and Black River was not included in the last major upgrade of the Bass Highway in this region. This section provides no overtaking lanes, is very narrow and dangerous in parts and is a constant challenge for the drivers of the many heavy vehicles using this road every day” Ms Forrest stated.
“It is difficult to understand why this section was not included in the last upgrades when it has long been a section of concern to local truck drivers and other road users in this region. I have personally had a near miss on this section of the road in a particularly narrow section near Peggs Beach” Ms Forrest said.
Ms Forrest has been contacted by local farmers raising their concerns. “Local farmers have asserted this section of the road to be some of the worst in the State, particularly considering the volume of traffic and produce transported” Ms Forrest said. Road users have also suggested that this section was not included in the previous upgrade as the Circular Head Council did not include it in the proposal to Government.
“Widening of this section and the addition of overtaking lanes needs to occur as a priority, especially as we are experiencing an increase in motor homes and caravans on the roads with very few opportunities safely pull over and enable trucks and other road users to pass” Ms Forrest stated.
“The Bass Highway is a key link from some of the most productive areas of the State and needs to be upgraded as a matter of priority to support business and industry in the area” Ms Forrest said.
I have taken legal advice in relation to an incident at an evening social event at Parliament House on 20th September 2016.
The decision I have taken reflects my commitment to speak out against any act of intimidation, bullying and/or violence, particularly when women are the target. I support the view of the Australian of the Year, David Morrison, that the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. I believe all behaviour within the Parliament and outside the Parliament needs to reflect this standard. Robust debate is important and necessary and can be undertaken in a respectful manner without the need to resort to such behaviour.
A LONG-serving Tasmanian Upper House MP will today seek legal advice after she says she was bullied by a State Government minister at a function.
Infrastructure and Police Minister Rene Hidding resisted calls for his resignation yesterday after Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest said he “threatened, intimidated and bullied” her over a piece of legislation.
I’m not a monarchist but I do like the Queen. Especially when she asks pertinent questions as she did in 2009 when visiting the London School of Economics. Referring to the Global Financial Crisis she asked her learned hosts: “Why did no one see it coming?”
A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry has recommended an overhaul of Tasmania’s preventative healthcare systems with the state lagging far behind the national average in several areas. A joint select committee report detailed a sorry summary of the state’s health and well being trends and subsequent need for reform including greater funding.
March 19, 2016 12:00am - The Hobart Mercury - Opinion
I used to work in the Safe Schools program that faces the axe. It was not called that then. It was Family Life Education. I was employed by the Catholic welfare organisation Centacare, to deliver a program to school students from Kinder to Years 11 and 12 across the North-West Coast.
Wednesday 11 November 2015. 4.39 p.m. (No. 46) Second Reading
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, the purpose of this bill is obvious from the opening line of the speech. The bill is to recover some of the general costs of law enforcement and administration if a person is sentenced for offences in Tasmania.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, each year the section 19 report gets a little better. I am not referring to the amounts in the report, more the accompanying explanations. When it comes to the impact on the budget, we do not get the full story.
Tuesday 10 November 2015. 11.16 a.m. International White Cane Day
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am very confident in suggesting that not one of us in this Chamber gave any real thought to whether the entry to Parliament House may have changed this morning as a result of the current works underway on the Parliament Square development, and whether we may need to avoid obstacles or take additional care to avoid running into something as we walked along.
ALL the heavy lifting has been done, all major decisions made. The Tasmanian Government is back on track. This is what the media releases and headlines tell us. But is it really the case? The fact the general government sector, which covers all departments and agencies commonly referred to as “the government” forms only part of the overall state sector, is often overlooked.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am sure all of us love to be entertained and we often travel long distances to attend quality productions that offer class acts in terms of great acting, music, comedy and all-round entertainment.
Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Dr GOODWIN
With regard to the provision of rural school bus services, are all or any school bus routes or services currently under review or due to be reviewed? If so, when will the review be completed? Will the outcome of any review be publicly available? With regards to each route and service, what criteria will be used to determine whether they are viable?
All Governments do it. Cherry picking figures to suit their narrative.
The Treasurer released the Government’s Preliminary Outcomes Report for 2014/15 and proclaimed a much better result than the estimated outcome contained in the May Budget papers, which in turn was much better than the original budget handed down in August 2014.
More than any other State, Tasmania doesn’t have much wriggle room when framing budgets. The Treasurer’s recently released Revised Estimates Report for 2014-15 shows this year’s budget hasn’t strayed too far from what was expected. It would have been alarming if it had as only four months elapsed from budget day to the end of the first half year.
2015 will no doubt bring challenges, surprises and the inevitable good with the bad. Tasmania’s future will continue to be uncertain until there is a shared understanding of the problems the State faces. It will be easier to solve problems together if we can develop such an understanding.
ONE would have expected dancing in the street – or at least an acknowledgment – after the news that Tasmania may have dodged a bullet. Hidden in the Federal Budget papers is Tasmania’s projected share of GST for the next three years at $500 million more than expected a year ago. The Hodgman Government’s response has been remarkably subdued.
The community are often the forgotten stakeholders in the debate around health service delivery. To achieve meaningful change the community across Tasmania needs to have a real understanding of why health service delivery has changed and why it is vital that it continues to change.