Media Releases

Rebecca White MP | Labor Member for Lyons

  • Fire service on standby to fill gaps in ambulance coverage
  • Nine ambulances ramped at LGH yesterday, seven today
  • RHH at highest level of escalation constantly for five days

Tasmania’s ambulance service is at breaking point with the Tasmania Fire Service today put on standby to fill the gaps in ambulance coverage.

Ambulance Tasmania has declared a ‘Surge 5’ which is a contingency plan to respond to major incidents like bus and plane crashes.

The Royal Hobart Hospital has also been at its highest escalation level for the past five days.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the situation in Hobart and Launceston was utter chaos.

“There were 11 patients ramped at the Royal Hobart Hospital yesterday and paramedics sent to jobs outside their knock-off time,” Ms White said.

“Nine patients were ramped at the Launceston General Hospital yesterday with ambulance crews still ramped at the hospital 90 minutes after their shifts ended, which meant when the night crews turned up, they had no trucks as they were all ramped.

“The situation at the LGH has been shocking today with at least seven ambulances ramped.

“We now have a situation where Ambulance Tasmania had no choice today but to declare a ‘Surge 5’ where firefighters will respond first to incidents if there are no ambulance crews available.

“When will Will Hodgman realise that he has run Tasmania’s ambulance services into the ground and that he is putting lives at risk?

“This system is broken and Will Hodgman is refusing to take this seriously. We need more paramedics and we need them now.

“Ambulance officers are at breaking point. They didn’t take on this job to be ramped at a hospital all day and night, they want to be out in the community helping people.

“Will Hodgman needs to stop saying they are going to recruit more ambulance staff and just get on with the job and get people in those roles  – we can’t afford to wait any longer.”

  • Will Hodgman at COAG meeting in Cairns today
  • He must finally tackle the big issues with the PM
  • Tasmanians sick of a hands-off Premier

Will Hodgman must finally show some leadership by demanding action from the Prime Minister and other State Premiers on the big issues facing Tasmania.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Tasmanians deserved better than a hands-off Premier.

“Tasmanians deserve someone who will take the fight up to the Prime Minister,” Ms White said.

Will Hodgman must come back from Cairns with:

  1. A plan to turn around Tasmania’s jobless rate, which is the worst in the nation and getting worse;
  2. Details on the Federal Government’s deal to forgive Tasmania’s public housing debt; and
  3. An unequivocal statement from Scott Morrison that Australia will not be developing nuclear energy.

“Will Hodgman scurried away from scrutiny in Parliament to attend the COAG meeting, it is incumbent that he delivers for Tasmania.

“Tasmanians are sick of seeing Will Hodgman sit back while Tassie jobs are destroyed and the health system gets worse.

“When a Liberal Prime Minister jumps, Will Hodgman asks how high?

“It’s time he stands up to the Prime Minister and put Tasmanian jobs first.”

  • International exports going backwards
  • More bad news for jobs under Will Hodgman

Data released by State Treasury has revealed that international exports have gone backwards by 0.3 per cent in the last year.

With Tasmania’s jobless rate the worst in the country, this points to an economy in dire need of leadership from Government.

Labor Leader and Shadow Trade Minister Rebecca White said Tasmanian jobs were at risk but Will Hodgman was not acting.

“Tasmania is renowned overseas for our high-quality products, including our amazing meat, wine, seafood, minerals and timber products,” Ms White said.

“Despite favourable internationals economic conditions, with the exchange rate being at its lowest level in a decade, we are just one of two states and territories to have exports drop in the last year, which means fewer jobs for Tasmanians.

“Will Hodgman was asked a series of questions about support for exporters in budget estimates.  More than two months later and he still hasn’t provided any details.

“Last year the Liberals came into Parliament and said the Premier was taking personal responsibility for taking trade to the next level. He has failed.”  

“Tasmanians deserve a Government that will stand up for jobs, particularly in our regions – but Will Hodgman and the Liberals have waved the white flag.”

  • Parks fees modernisation overdue
  • Government pinching more Labor policies

Tasmanian Labor has cautiously welcomed the Hodgman Government’s announcement it will modernise fees structure for parks visitors.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Government had followed Labor’s lead. 

“It’s good to see the Government recognising the value in Labor’s park fees policy that we announced before the last election,” Ms White said.

“The Premier should now release full details of his new policy so that it can be analysed in Parliament and by the tourism industry.

“Any extra revenue must be reinvested in enhancing the visitor experience, protecting our natural assets and upgrading visitor infrastructure.”

 Cassy O’Connor is allowing renewable energy jobs to be put at risk by failing to stand up to Bob Brown.

 The Tasmanian Greens’ silence in response to Bob Brown’s attack on the Robbins Island wind farm has been deafening.

 “Yesterday the Greens had a chance to stand up for renewable energy jobs – they failed,” Labor Leader Rebecca White said.

 “The Greens have a pathological aversion to development, even when it is in sectors that they claim to support.

 “Cassy O’Connor can’t have it both ways – she can’t declare a climate emergency and then fail to support projects that will actually reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

 “Labor is a strong supporter of the renewable energy sector and we want to see the Robbins Island project progress through the rigorous approvals process.”

Bob Brown should be ashamed of his breathtaking hypocrisy in opposing the Robbins Island wind farm.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Mr Brown’s campaign against the renewable energy project highlighted everything that was wrong with the Greens.

“Bob Brown has been traipsing across Australia campaigning against the coal industry, claiming that the future is renewable energy,” Ms White said.

“Meanwhile in Tasmania, the former Greens leader is actively campaigning against a project that would create hundreds of jobs.

“Labor is a strong supporter of jobs in the renewable energy industry. These jobs are sorely needed at a time when Tasmania’s unemployment rate is the worst in the country.

“The Robbins Island wind farm should be allowed to go through the normal planning processes without being attacked by Bob Brown.

“If the Tasmanian Greens truly support renewable energy they should condemn their former Leader’s extreme views about the Robbins Island project.”

  • Hickey calls the shots in Hodgman Government
  • Liberal Government consumed by chaos
  • Backroom deals and desperate pleas for support from a weak Premier

Premier Will Hodgman’s leadership has been irreparably weakened by his desperate and ultimately futile attempts to stave off minority government.

Sue Hickey remains a member of Liberal Party in name alone and cannot guarantee that she will not walk next week, next month, or next year.

“Tasmanians talk about wanting a government that has a clear agenda that speaks with one voice, that is not compromised and dependent on political backroom deals for its survival, but that is what they have and what is typically wrong with minority governments. They are compromised governments that say one thing and do another. Their political survival depends upon backroom deals and horse-trading, bringing with it uncertainty and confusion.”

Will Hodgman – House of Assembly Hansard – 6 March 2013

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Will Hodgman’s Government was inherently unstable and bitterly divided.

“Tasmanians are not getting the stable majority government they were promised,” Ms White said.

“We’ve had a fortnight of complete chaos, with crisis meetings on health and housing, an embarrassing Cabinet reshuffle and over the last week the Government have been on edge waiting for Ms Hickey’s decision.

“Today’s announcement changes nothing because Sue Hickey still won’t give the Government her unconditional support and has said she will assess her feeling about the Government fortnight to fortnight.

“The question Tasmanians are rightly asking today is who is leading the State – Ms Hickey is calling the shots while the Premier begs for her support behind closed doors.”

  • Premier declares No Confidence in Michael Ferguson
  • Why has it taken five years of failure for the Premier to act?
  • Courtney must ensure Government properly funds health

After half a decade of inept management of the health portfolio, Michael Ferguson has finally been sacked.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said today’s announcement was welcome but said the Premier shouldn’t have to have been dragged kicking and screaming to this obvious decision.

“The Premier has spent the last year as Michael Ferguson’s number one cheerleader, as recently as last week celebrating the job he had done in the portfolio,” Ms White said.

“The Premier fought against Labor’s No Confidence and Censure motions in Parliament, he ridiculed more than 3200 Tasmanians who signed our petition calling for Mr Ferguson to go and he failed to listen to doctors, nurses, paramedics and health professionals who said people were dying needlessly in our hospitals.

“But today the Premier finally declared no confidence in Michael Ferguson.

“Today’s humiliating reshuffle presents an opportunity for the chaotic Minority Liberal Government. 

“Sarah Courtney must show more courage in the Cabinet than Mr Ferguson did by demanding that it addresses the $100 million health funding black hole.

“Labor wrote to the Premier last year with a list of policy solutions to the health crisis. Parliament supported Labor’s motions to hold roundtables with all sides of politics and health professionals to turn this terrible state of affairs around.  The Premier and Michael Ferguson did nothing. 

“Labor is prepared to work with the new Health Minister if she is truly willing to listen.”

  • Liberals give up on hitting target they set for themselves
  • Crisis work plan still yet to be delivered
  • Jaensch needs to say how many homes the Liberals missed their target by

Today is a day of shame for Housing Minister Roger Jaensch and Premier Will Hodgman.

In 2014-15 the Liberals promised to build 900 new homes* by 30 June 2019.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said that the Government’s own data showed the Liberals had built only 316 new social housing dwellings.

“The Housing Minister needs to come out today and say exactly how many of the promised 900 homes had been built,” Ms White said.

“On any given night 1,600 Tasmanians are homeless and many other families are couch surfing, relying on their friends and families or living in sheds, cars or tents

“The Liberals have broken their promise to Tasmanians to deliver 900 homes they need.

“Tasmanians don’t want more talking or excuses from the Government, they want action before people suffer further during a freezing winter.”

Shadow Housing Minister Alison Standen said Tasmanians had heard very little from the Minister since his housing and homelessness crisis talks.

“Roger Jaensch needs to show more urgency,” Ms Standen said.

“Minister Jaensch promised a work plan but we are still waiting.

“We need investments that deliver value for money as well as outcomes. And now that we are in the depths of winter, we need them now.”

  • Sue Hickey joins calls for embattled Ferguson to go
  • Minority Liberal Government desperate to avoid testing its numbers
  • Michael Ferguson can’t run from scrutiny forever

The Minority Liberal Government has gagged debate in the Parliament to protect its embattled Health Minister from a vote of no confidence.

Liberal Member for Clark Sue Hickey has declared her position that the Minister should be removed, joining Labor, health professionals and more than 3000 Tasmanians who signed a petition this year for his removal.

“If I was Premier, I would say it’s time to give Michael … I would give him something else to do.”

“I think it’s time for Michael to consider his position.  He’s lost the faith of the doctors. He’s lost the faith of the nurses. There’s not a lot of faith in the Parliament.  He just stands up every day and says thanks for this report… He can’t keep glossing over this. This is a serious issue. And it probably just needs fresh blood.”

– Sue Hickey, Mornings with Leon Compton, 12 June 2019

Labor Leader Rebecca White said this meant Mr Ferguson would be unlikely to survive a no confidence motion.

“The Liberals will do anything to avoid a vote in the Parliament, because they know that they will lose and Minister Ferguson will have to go,” Ms White said.

“If the Liberals had confidence in Michael Ferguson they would allow a proper debate and vote.

“Tasmanians have lost confidence in Michael Ferguson, health professionals and patients have lost confidence in Michael Ferguson and it is only a desperate and divided minority Liberal Government which is preventing the Parliament from formally declaring it too has no confidence in Michael Ferguson.

“Michael Ferguson can’t run from scrutiny forever.”

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Rebecca White

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