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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2570


Mr BRIAN MITCHELL (Lyons) (11:54): On Saturday, 3 March, Tasmanians have a choice. They have a choice between two leaders. One is the incumbent Liberal Premier, who only trots out for the puff pieces on the good news occasions and leaves all the hard stuff to his hapless ministers. He's really been exposed by this election campaign. The biosecurity cuts he made in his first term—in fact, the first year of his government—have put our state's agricultural industry at risk with a fruit fly outbreak. It is well-known now. Tasmanian members have been speaking about the dangers of a fruit fly outbreak to Tasmania's agricultural industry for some time. But this outbreak comes hot on the heels of Norwegian salmon being found on supermarket shelves in Tasmania, of blueberry rust and myrtle rust. It is not an isolated incident. Biosecurity cuts under this premier are not a mere accident. They are a cause, they are happenstance because he cut biosecurity funding in his first year.

Ambulances are being ramped at hospitals. It is a regular occurrence now. It is not a once-off during a flu season; it is every night, six or seven ambulances. Every night you can count the number of ambulances ramped at the hospitals. An ambulance ramped is two paramedics per ambulance, a patient in the back and an ambulance not on the road responding to emergency call outs. That is the legacy of this failed Liberal Premier. We have got bed block in our hospitals. People can't go home because they need treatment but they can't get admitted because there are no beds, so our emergency departments are filling up with people, particularly people with mental health issues, because this government has failed to invest in mental health. Everywhere you look, this Liberal premier, this Liberal government have been a failure. School funding has been cut. The state Liberals have not stood up to this federal Liberal government to ensure that Tasmanian kids get the best education they can. We know this federal government has cut $68 million out of Tasmanian schools over the next two years alone. Those funds would make a big difference to the quality of schooling in Tasmania.

For four years, the Liberal Premier has told Tasmanians there is no money in the budget for anything, not a penny. He came in promising cuts four years ago to bring the budget into line without affecting frontline services. He said, 'We have got the make cuts to repair the budget but we won't affect frontline services.' Health workers were cut, teachers were cut, nurses were cut, park rangers were cut and biosecurity was cut. For four years this Premier told Tasmanians there was no money for anything, no money for essential services. But now we fast forward to this campaign and this Liberal Premier is rattled by the Tasmanian Labor leader, Rebecca White, who has led a magnificent campaign and who has shown this Liberal Premier for the charlatan that he is.

At last count, the Liberal promises for this latest campaign amount to a staggering $2.7 billion, a budget-busting $2.7 billion—extraordinary! But even more extraordinary is how it has never been more important to read the fine print. They are promising new beds, but only a handful of the new beds will be delivered in the next four years. Most of the new beds come in after the next election. It is a con job. It is a cheek.

Everything that they talk about, you have got to check the fine print because you can't trust the Liberals. We know this Liberal Premier is owned wholly and solely by the barons of the pokie industry. The Liberal campaign has been funded by them, and the Premier is giving them exactly what they want, which is a new licence to continue to operate poker machines throughout the community of Tasmania until 2043. But we all know that if they were there until then, they would be in forever.

On the other side, we have a Labor leader in Rebecca White and she is a fantastic Labor leader. She's shown the vision that we need. She's got $2 million for biosecurity, $6 million for Bass Highway, $15 million for Cradle Mountain and $30 million to halve the hospital waiting lists because she talked to federal Labor and that is what federal Labor will deliver. She's standing up to the pokie barons. Tasmanians all know they have one chance in a generation to get pokie machines out of community venues in Tasmania—that is, vote Labor on Saturday. Vote Rebecca White for Premier. That is what we need. It is the last chance. The one and only chance is for Liberal voters to vote Labor on Saturday.