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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Page: 7544


Ms COLLINS (FranklinMinister for Community Services, Minister for the Status of Women and Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development) (09:57): In Hobart last week I joined Minister Tanya Plibersek in announcing some significant support from the federal Labor government for Tasmania's health system. We all know that Tasmania does face significant ongoing budget pressures. The minister and I announced a $325 million rescue package for Tasmania's health system. This package is the culmination of work by Minister Plibersek in the local community with the federal members in each of our electorates, talking to health professionals and allied health services about the urgent need for more investment in Tasmania's health system. I was particularly pleased that the Minister for Health accepted my invitation to visit the health professionals at my local GP superclinic at Rosny. This GP superclinic is going extraordinarily well at the moment . We have a lot of allied health professionals and GPs in the superclinic and in the integrated care centre that is co-located there.

Minister Plibersek's decision to support Tasmania's health system really acknowledges that not only do we have budgetary constraints in the health system in Tasmania but we have some unique issues within the system. Tasmania has the oldest population and its proportion of older people is growing more quickly than in any other state or territory. My state has the highest prevalence of hypertensive diseases—heart, stroke and vascular diseases—of all the states and territories. It also has the highest levels of risk factors in Australia, including high levels of smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and low levels of healthy eating. It has a small, geographically dispersed population. Of course all of this makes the delivery of health services a lot more expensive.

The Commonwealth have provided this additional funding, but we have to also understand that the Tasmanian state government has withdrawn money from the state budget. The Commonwealth have said that no more cuts to the health system in Tasmania by the state government will be tolerated. We want to work together on the best health outcomes for all Tasmanians. This health package is very broad, but we do need ongoing health reform in Tasmania to have better services into the future.

The particular package will deliver $31 million for elective surgery—in southern Tasmania that is about 990 actual elective surgery services; around $22 million for walk-in clinics—one in Hobart and one in Launceston; $48 million for better care in the community to prevent and manage chronic disease; $74 million to provide better care for patients when they are discharged to hospital to stop readmissions and better palliative care in the community; $53 million to train more medical specialists; $15 million to address the gaps in mental health services, particularly community mental health services; and $36 million to rollout personally controlled electronic health records in Tasmania's hospitals. There is much to be done in our health system.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order. In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members constituency statements has concluded.