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Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Page: 5275

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (13:52): The public health system in Tasmania was already struggling with the rising cost of modern health care and the additional costs associated with the ageing population. But add years of poor governance, a small tax base and dreadful health indicators and you have a particularly nasty situation where people are dying unnecessarily. Now compounding this is the state government's decision to try and cut $100 million from the health budget last year and to do so again in the coming financial year.

What we are seeing in Tasmania should send shock waves through governments around the country. Yes, there are unique factors in Tasmania—but just about every jurisdiction has unique challenges—meaning that much of Australia's public health system is heading for an inevitable crisis that will only be averted by a federal government taking the system or at least moving to some type of single-funding model. More cash is good, and I am grateful to the federal government for working with me on added assistance right now for the Tasmanian public health system, but that will be just the start of the solution for Tasmania or anywhere else. Ultimately real reform is what is needed now.