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Thursday, 14 May 2009
Page: 2965

Senator Cormann asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 5 March 2009:

With reference to the hand back of the Mersey Community Hospital to state government control:

(1)   Have all federal election commitments regarding the resourcing of Tasmania’s hospitals, including the Mersey Community Hospital, been met.

(2)   Does the Minister or the department maintain any oversight or control of the Mersey Community Hospital outside the Heads of Agreement.

(3)   Were any special conditions outside the Heads of Agreement agreed to between the federal and Tasmanian governments regarding the ongoing administration of the Mersey Community Hospital; if so, what were those conditions.

(4)   Were any additional funding commitments above those promised during the 2007 election campaign made to any parties, including the Tasmanian Government and the Mersey Community Hospital board, to achieve the transition to state government control.

(5)   Have there been any variations to the Heads of Agreement signed on 28 August 2008; if so, what.

Senator Ludwig (Minister for Human Services) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Federal election commitments regarding the resourcing of Tasmania’s hospitals have all been met or are being progressed.

(2)   The Heads of Agreement (HoA) sets out the responsibilities of both Tasmania and the Commonwealth with respect to the management, operation and funding of the Mersey Community Hospital. This includes obligations for Tasmania in relation to reporting and data provision, and a requirement for the establishment of a community regional advisory body on which the Commonwealth must be represented. To monitor the implementation of the Agreement, regular teleconferences are held between senior officials of the Tasmanian and Commonwealth departments and the hospital. The Commonwealth also continues to own the land and the buildings of the hospital and as such has certain responsibilities associated with owning assets, such as insurance and valuation, which are met independently of the HoA.

(3)   No.

(4)   No.

(5)   There have been no variations since the Heads of Agreement was signed on 27 August 2008.