Albo plays down infighting worries in Labor’s ranks
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese described the Tasmanian Labor party as "a united team" and denied instability within the party will hamper its ability to lead if elected in May, saying "they can govern the state and govern it well".
"Rebecca White has shown that she has the courage and the leadership capacity to lead Tasmania," Mr Albanese said.
"The first thing you have to do is lead your team and make tough decisions, Rebecca White has shown she has been prepared to that.
"She now has the team in place that she wants and needs."
Mr Albanese said interchanging candidates during the election campaign was "nothing unusual".
"If you want to see division just ask Eric Abetz and Bridget Archer if they can find anything to agree on," he said.
"I'm surprised to be here at this time for election because we know the election was due in 2022 and not now, and the only reason why Premier Gutwein is going to an early election is because he doesn't have capacity to govern for a full term."
Mr Albanese said voters wouldn't be interested in party infighting, suggesting "it's a bit of noise".
He also addressed the issue of candidate Fabiano Cangelosi, who spoke out this week on Labor's pokies policy.
"From time to time when you have a whole heap of candidates you will have everyone not always on the same page but the Tasmanian Labor position is very clear and it's one that I support," Mr Albanese said.
Mr Albanese flagged he would be returning to the state later in the campaign.
He also denied unions had threatened to withdraw support for his leadership if the party's national executive intervened in the pre-selection of Dean Winter.
'Elective surgery blitz won't fix our huge problem'
BIG spending promises to increase the number of elective surgical procedures in the state's policy are unlikely to achieve lasting change, an independent health policy analyst says.
The Liberals has announced a $154m pledge to reduce the state's persistently high elective surgery waiting lists if they are re-elected at the May 1 election.
But analyst Martyn Goddard said the likelihood of the policy making a difference was slim.
'This will be the fourth elective surgery blitz since the government came to office seven years ago," he said.
"Elective surgery blitzes do not work. Although they bring benefit to some people, they do nothing in the longer term about providing public hospital facilities that can actually cope with the needs of the population."
"In December, the most recent month for which data are available, there were 12,086 people on the waiting list, plus 51,388 people on the outpatients waiting list, waiting to see a specialist. Many of these, though not all, are in need of elective surgery.
"These extra surgeries cannot be delivered within public hospitals, which are already operating at 100 per cent of capacity."
He said improving productivity in the public hospital system was not possible without increasing capacity.
"If the present staff were able to work at a normal, national-average level of efficiency, they would be able to treat 20 per cent more patients than they currently do.
"The crisis would be over. But they can't work efficiently without the space and the beds."
A 2015 report on elective surgery commissioned by the government also noted surgical blitzes don't achieve long-term change and long waiting lists were a "structural feature of the Tasmanian health system".
'Excessively long waiting times experienced by some patients, therefore, seems to be a structural feature of the Tasmanian health system, which is likely to require a range of
Co-ordinated interventions to be tackled collectively," it said.
"A series of initiatives and injections of funding directed at reducing the waiting list have had a limited impact and have not significantly reduced the overall numbers of patients waiting or the number of patients being admitted for surgery
"Additional funding/capacity alone is unlikely to address the issues Tasmania has with long waiting patients.
Health Consumers Tasmania CEO Bruce Levett welcomed the government's announcement.
"The statistics for Tasmania are concerning, with only 56 per cent of Tasmanians receiving elective surgery within the clinically recommended time frames," he said.
"If the Liberals are re-elected, we would like to see this funding rolled out as quickly so that more people can receive elective surgery within clinically recommended time frames.
"HCT supports this proposal and is committed to working with the next government to ensure our health system is efficient and effective so that initiatives like this can benefit as many Tasmanians as possible as quickly as possible."
Labor's health spokesman Bastian Seidel described the plan as a "deluded sham".
"The evidence is very clear those surgery blitzes don't work,
Health Minister Sarah Courtney said Labor was opposed to reducing waiting lists.
"Labor needs to explain to the more than 22,000 additional people who will receive treatment under our plan, why they oppose them getting the treatment they need and deserve?" she said.
"Does Labor actually have a policy or a plan, or will they just snipe from the sidelines."
Libs' $154m surgery blitz a 'deluded sham'
Monday, April 5, 2021
LONGTIME environmental campaigner Vica Bayley has joined the Greens ticket in Clark, the party announced.
Unveiling its full roster of 25 candidates for the upcoming state election, leader Cassy O'Connor said the lineup was a diverse mix, including a foster carer, pulp mill campaigner, an anaesthetist, forest and climate activists, disability advocates and two nurses.
"We've got a strong team of committed, capable and kind Tasmanians ready to listen to the community about their hopes for the future, and prepared to stand up and represent them in parliament," she said.
"All our outstanding candidates are committed to building back greener and fairer from COVID, to real climate action, and to making sure no one gets left behind.
"It is now reported that in the past year, 30,000 Tasmanians have been driven into poverty.
"This places an obligation on every party running at this election to come forward with policies that will ease the cost of living and the financial suffering of Tasmanians.
"We'll certainly be making a focus in this campaign. That's an enormous amount of human suffering that we're talking about."
A former Wilderness Society campaigner, Mr Bayley has recently been the spokesman for Residents Opposed to the Cable Car.
In Bass, where the party has high hopes of picking up a third seat, the party's lead candidate is Jack Davenport, who finished fifth out of six candidate's in last year's Legislative Council vote in Rosevears.
And former MP Tim Morris is making a fresh tilt at office in Lyons, where he served from 2002 to 2014.
Libs' $154m surgery blitz a 'deluded sham'
LIBERAL plans for an elective surgery blitz were a disgraceful and deluded sham for which the government should apologise, Labor's health spokesman Bastian Seidel says.
The government had failed to improve the state's health system during seven years in power, Dr Seidel said in Huonville on Monday.
The Liberals have announced plans to inject an additional $154m into tackling the state's out-of-control elective surgery waiting list, to deliver an additional 22,300 elective surgeries and endoscopies over four years.
But Dr Seidel said Tasmanian voters would not be fooled.
"The big Liberal health announcement today is nothing more than a sham," he said.
"They've had seven years, and they've done nothing. Tasmanians can't afford another four years of the same old, same old, because Tasmanians are actually dying.
"The evidence is very clear those surgery blitzes don't work.
"We've had multiple cash injections in the past from the Commonwealth: $300m, $16m, $4m and this Liberal government has just wasted it on producing glossy brochures and come up with bizarre slogans about making Tasmania the healthiest state of the nation by 2025. It's deluded."
A report commissioned in the early days of the Liberal government noted that blitzes seldom worked and long waits were "a structural feature of the Tasmanian health system".
"A series of initiatives and injections of funding directed at reducing the waiting list have had a limited impact and have not significantly reduced the overall numbers of patients waiting or the number of patients being admitted for surgery," it said.
"Additional funding/capacity alone is unlikely to address the issues Tasmania has
with long-waiting patients."
Dr Seidel said the numbers announced in the latest Liberal plan did not stand up to even casual scrutiny.
"Today they announced that they're going to have 22,000 surgeries, wait for it, done by 10 additional doctors. How is that going to work?"
Independent candidate for Clark Sue Hickey said Tasmanians would be astounded at the last-minute promises to suddenly find $154m for elective surgery
"At every fortnightly meeting I had with Premier Peter Gutwein and ministers over the past three years, health was on my agenda and I implored them to put more money into health and to employ more nurses," she said.
"They simply weren't interested. They've done nothing for seven years, yet on the eve of the election, they somehow find some money."
Health Consumers Tasmania CEO Bruce Levett welcomed the Liberals' announcement.
"The statistics for Tasmania are concerning, with only 56 per cent of Tasmanians receiving elective surgery within the clinically recommended time frames," Mr Levett said.
"If the Liberals are re-elected, we would like to see this funding rolled out quickly so that more people can receive elective surgery within clinically recommended time frames."
$5m power plan to boost school budgets
SCHOOLS would be given money to fund solar projects and would be allowed to keep the savings off their energy bills under a Labor government, party leader Rebecca White says.
Announcing plans for a $5m Schools Solar Fund, Ms White said the policy complemented Labor's plan to install solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades in social housing properties.
"We estimate that schools could save on average $22,000 a year on their power bills, which will make a big difference for them and the support services and education opportunities they provide to their students in the classroom," she said.
Labor candidate and Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year 2021 Toby Thorpe has been a long-time energy efficiency campaigner.
While a student at Huonville High, he was instrumental in the helping it to win the $US100,000 Global High Schools Zayed Future Energy Prize.
But the savings the school has made have been clawed back by the Education Department.
Mr Thorpe said he has been campaigning for change for many years.
"In 2017, I first wrote to the government asking for them to change the resource energy allocation to school so we were able to realise those savings and direct them into other areas and that still has not happened," he said.
"Thousands of dollars can make huge differences to schools like Huonville High School, but also so many other schools across the state.
"There's so many different exciting programs, educational facilities and resources that these funds can be directed to and as a student at a high school like this I know that that could have been so much better for my education, my peers' education, and for the community as well."
Originally published as Albo plays down infighting worries in Labor's ranks