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Wednesday, 28 March 1984
Page: 822

Senator PETER RAE(5.26) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

This was a particularly important report to the north of Tasmania and to the whole of Tasmania. There have been very considerable problems which date back many years, from the construction of a hospital for which the architects forgot to plan kitchens and which was constructed without any, to large developments for the extension of the Launceston General Hospital and only part of the extensions going ahead. Very serious differences arose between the Commonwealth and the State as to the funding of further developments and the requirements under which they could take place. There was a difference of attitude about what should happen with regard to the many small local hospitals throughout northern Tasmania which serve an extremely important function and which the State Government believed needed to be preserved to ensure that there was locally available immediate hospital care where appropriate although, of course, more serious and special cases would be treated in the Launceston General Hospital.

A committee of review was appointed to conduct an inquiry and make recommendations. I do not propose to take up the time of the Senate by going through those recommendations. Suffice it to say that there appears to have been a very favourable response to the report and the report appears to provide the basis upon which a settlement of problems can take place and the further requirements of hospitals in Launceston and in northern Tasmania can proceed to be met expeditiously. I can only wish it well. It has been a long standing problem. I think the Committee is to be congratulated for achieving a report which appears to have been accepted by a variety of people who had major differences of opinion as to what should happen. I simply welcome the report and the expedition of the further development of the hospital and I welcome the prospect of a settlement of the problems that were investigated by the committee of review.