The Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment was put on hold by the Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson, when he came to Government. He established a taskforce to provide advice to Government and indicated that it could take up to six months and $1 million before he would be able to decide how to proceed with the project.
Right to Information documents obtained by Labor show that in the period March to June 2014, $1.3 million has been paid by the Liberal Government to contractors with no work actually being done.
In addition the heavily censored document also reveals that members of the three person taskforce are being paid $2800 a day.
The daily rate of pay for the chair of the taskforce is more than double the average Tasmanian weekly wage and three times the basic fortnightly aged pension.
In a time when the Tasmanian public is constantly being told by the Hodgman Government that the state’s budget is tight how can they justify such largesse while nurses are being forced to take a pay cut that would see them lose about $6500 a year?
Mr Ferguson needs to explain why $1.3 million has been spent when there has been zero progress with the RHH rebuild.
The Minister also needs to explain what outcomes the taskforce is producing that justify the $2,800 a day cost; costs that are estimated to reach more than $300,000 in total according to advice obtained in the Right to Information documents.
Minister Ferguson has stated that a lack of transparency around the activities of the taskforce is “not my problem.”
He must stop hiding behind panels and consultants, take responsibility for his portfolio and explain to the Tasmanian people what outcomes the Government is getting for this spend and what his plans are for the future of the RHH development at the end of the six month timeframe?
The money the Minister is drawing down to pay for the taskforce and thecontractor is money that can no longer be spent on building new wards, fitting them out and improving our hospital so that it can meet the health needs of Tasmanians.
Every day the Minister takes to make a decision about the future of the redevelopment of the RHH is another day of money spent on consultants and not on a new hospital.