Legislative Council Committee A, Wednesday 7 June 2023
CHAIR - We're running out of time, there are other areas I want to go. If I can just go to the Group 6 Metals mine on King Island. There was a considerable lack of engagement across government businesses to assist them with the energy. I'm not going to go into that now, it does show a lack of broader government looking at this particular issue.
What I want to know from you as the minister for Resources and working across portfolio for the betterment of the state, we know the Group 6 Metals in 2024-25, 2025-26 is going to have significant overburden, there's an opportunity here for them to relocate that inert overburden - nothing nasty or toxic about it, no acid in it, inert - to put it out in the ocean there and create an all-weather safe harbour.
Legislative Council Committee A, Tuesday 6 June 2023
CHAIR - .... I understand that, in terms of neonatal screening, New South Wales currently screen for SMAs, spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic condition, and Queensland's about to start. Is there any intention of Tasmania to start this as part of the neonatal screening program? Yes, the five day imprint, or however many days it is now.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Yes.
CHAIR - There's a range of tests done there, but as I understand, it's not one of the ones included in Tasmania. It's a new -
Mr ROCKLIFF - Yes. I know there was a trial done in New South Wales in a particular manner.
Legislative Council Committee A, Tuesday 6 June 2023
CHAIR - We’ll go to Mike first on that.
Mr GAFFNEY - Thanks. Thank you, minister. It was good to see that 97 temporary jobs were made permanent and meet post COVID 19 demand. What has been the impact of those 97 permanent jobs on Ambulance Services, and is it sufficient, or is there still more Ambulance Service, more ambulance needed, personnel needed for FTEs.
CHAIR - Before you answer the question, I might just get youto introduce your staff around the table.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Yes. We have our Chief Executive of Ambulance Tasmania, Mr Jordan Emery at the table. We welcomed Jordan to the role of Chief Executive, that's a recent appointment, and I pay tribute to his predecessor, Joe Acker, of course, and welcome Jordan not only to the role, but also to the table.
Legislative Council Committee A, Monday 5 June 2023
CHAIR - Regarding, bus shelters, is that the responsibility of the state or is it a responsibility of local government where the shelter should be?
Mr FERGUSON - Both.
CHAIR - How is it determined who's responsible for what?
Mr FERGUSON - Different individuals and separate players have different opinions on this. My advice and our understanding - and the basis upon which we are proceeding with our $10 million bus shelter plan is as follows: that the owner of the road asset is responsible for the delivery and the provision of bus stop infrastructure, including shelters.
CHAIR - Minister, you've commissioned GHD to do an assessment into the feasibility of a second bridge over the Cam River. Can you provide a copy of the specific terms and scope of work to be undertaken by GHD?
Mr FERGUSON - I think we can. Didn't I provide that to the Legislative Council last week?
CHAIR - It hasn't been provided yet. I've been waiting for it, so I thought I'd try again here.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am pleased to follow the Leader, because I have a slightly different take on some things. It will not be a surprise to the Leader.
Mr President, why does the Premier, and premiers before him, find it necessary to remind us in every State of the State address - something the Leader did not refer to - that his side of politics have delivered since coming to power in 2014, that things would have been so much worse if the other lot were still sitting on the Treasury benches.
Seriously, Mr President, we did not have to wait long before the Premier trotted out the old chestnut, and I quote:
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I will start with congratulating Her Excellency Honourable Barbara Baker on her appointment as our new Governor, and I look forward to ongoing engagement with her.
Further, I acknowledge and sincerely thank our previous Governor, Kate Warner, our first - and obviously not the last - female Governor. She has held this position in an exemplary manner. Kate Warner was a trail blazer in the legal world, a wonderful role model for all women and girls. A strong and fearless advocate for Tasmania and the areas on which she focused her work. Her work promoting restorative justice, more effective sentencing options, and gender equality will not be forgotten. I am sure she is not done yet. I am sure we would all agree that she has been an exemplar.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, Tasmania and Australia are quite different places now as opposed to when the Premier delivered his address. We are facing, and will continue to face, significant financial pressures in coming months as our health services face enormous pressure to provide care for those who need it for matters other than and including COVID-19.
We know COVID-19 will put significant and hopefully not overwhelming demand on all our health-related resources - human, supplies and other resources and financial. It is vital all Tasmanians heed the advice proactively, responsibly and with a real appreciation of the reality that the inconvenience we all experience may actually avoid the deaths of many vulnerable members of our community, our own loved ones and even ourselves.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, we all look forward to hearing good stories with happy endings, especially in these turbulent times, but we need to keep in touch with reality.
The annual State of the State speeches have been a bit of a rallying cry for the troops rather than an analysis of where we are. One could easily be forgiven for mistaking them for an election campaign launch.
Take this piece from the Premier's speech, where he was referring to our strong economy -
Without it we simply could not invest more into health, education and the essential services Tasmanians need, or take action to keep cost of living pressures down, which we have done, or to build the infrastructure our growing state needs, which we are doing.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I wish to make a contribution regarding the safety of our children, particularly schoolchildren on the north-west coast. I know this is a problem around other parts of the state and for the children who attend the Boat Harbour Primary School. I am disappointed that the member for Huon did not stay to listen because I am sure it affects children in his area too.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I welcome the opportunity to make some comments in reply to Her Excellency's speech on the opening of the Forty-Ninth Parliament.
I do not intend to cover areas more appropriately addressed in a reply to the state budget, which is almost upon us. I expect many of the election commitments will be reflected there.
I am pleased to note Her Excellency's comments regarding Tasmania leading the nation in electing over 50 per cent of women to the House of Assembly. Of course, until very recent times the Legislative Council has had 40 per cent female members and with the election of another woman to the seat of Prosser, we are now at 47 per cent. Indeed, we are doing well in the gender diversity measure.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I wish to make a fairly brief contribution on adjournment. In recent days a national stroke audit has been released which clearly shows disturbing truth about lack of adequate and appropriate care for victims of stroke, particularly in the north-west and north of the state.
A bit of background regarding stroke statistics in Australia. One stroke occurs every nine minutes; that is 56 000 new strokes each year, of which many occur in regional areas. Regional Australians are 19 per cent more likely to have a stroke than their city counterparts. Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability, costing over $5 billion a year.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I want to ask a question of the Government in light of the debate we have just had, particularly with regard to the money referred to for the King Island shipping service and the response the Leader provided. As I said in my contribution, the minister advised the committee on 10 August the $900 000 to secure that interim service before the Investigator II could start - I am reading Hansard - would be paid out of the island shipping emergency fund.
Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, as it is only 4 o'clock, I am wondering why we are not going with the motion of the member for Mersey. We were set to sit until 6 o'clock and that would give us more time tomorrow. I do not know how long people will speak on that motion, but we have another couple of things on tomorrow, so I am wondering why we are rising now, rather than using the time to go on with the member for Mersey's motion. I think it would be a better use of time than finishing this early.
[12.33 p.m.] Mrs ARMITAGE (Launceston) (by leave) - Mr President, in accordance with the provisions of standing order 32(3) I move -
That the Council does now adjourn for the purpose of discussing a matter of public importance, namely:
The current crisis in the Launceston General Hospital emergency department and the public concerns surrounding it.
Mr PRESIDENT - In accordance with the Standing Orders, are there three members prepared to rise in support of the proposed motion? That being the case, I again refer all members to what was stated at the commencement of the morning, that the duration of the debate shall not exceed two-and-a-half hours. There is no right of reply and at the conclusion of the debate the member for Launceston will seek leave to withdraw the motion.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am using this opportunity on adjournment to make some comments I wished to make this morning during the joint sitting, but was not given the call to do so.
Mr President, as we know, casual vacancies in the Senate are filled in accordance with section 15 of the Constitution by a meeting of the state legislature, both Houses, or only one in the case of Queensland. Prior to 1975 the convention was to appoint members of the same party. This convention was broken twice in 1975. A successful referendum in 1977 led to a constitutional change enshrining the convention requiring the nominee to be a member of the same party.
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I want to make a brief contribution and pose a question to the Government. A constituent of mine over the last two to three months has had a total of over 100 head of sheep shot on nine separate occasions. These sheep have been shot by a person or persons who are very capable shooters as the sheep have almost all, if not all, been shot through the neck and left in the paddock to die. These shootings have occurred on my constituent's farm where he and his wife and four children live. This is a very distressing time for him and the family and to this time the farmer has chosen not to inform the younger children so as to try to avoid undue stress.
[3.00 p.m.] Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, we get an opportunity a couple of times a year in this place to deliver what has often been titled a 'grievance debate', where we have the opportunity to raise pretty much any matter or issue or area of interest to us as members, or our electorate, and this is one of those times.