23 November 2011
Andrew discusses the $340m he secured to rebuild the Royal Hobart Hospital.
Mr WILKIE (Denison) (13:52): Today in the Tasmanian parliament the Premier/Treasurer displayed a breathtaking lack of fiscal nous when she suggested that the $340 million I secured for the Royal Hobart Hospital will result in a commensurate reduction in GST and, by implication, that I am somehow responsible for Tasmania’s dire financial circumstances.
But the facts are that GST calculations are complex and special purpose grants to any state for any project have a lesser impact on the GST carve-up and it is spread over years. No wonder the Tasmanian government welcomed the $340 million for the Royal Hobart Hospital at every opportunity and has never suggested handing it back. So, no, this $340 million will not cut $340 million from future GST allocations and, no, I am not responsible for Tasmania’s budget debacle.
Frankly, the Premier should come clean and stop cherry-picking her projects. What about the $176 million for the Brighton Bypass? And is the $40 million for the Launceston General Hospital exempt? This is desperate politics from a Labor-Green government trying to deflect attention from the fact that it is gutting the public health system, sacking staff and putting Tasmanian lives at risk. Thankfully, the federal government has tied the hospital money to health spending, in effect protecting Tasmanians from their state government, which would otherwise waste the money on pet projects like racetrack resurfacing and football team sponsorship.(Time expired)
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): Before calling the honourable member for Reid, I would like to recognise the former honourable member for O’Connor who is gracing the chamber with his presence today. Welcome, Mr Tuckey.