Media Releases

Rebecca White MP | Labor Member for Lyons

  • $390 million committed over four years to redevelop Repatriation Hospital site
  • Plans include room for 85 additional beds in new site
  • Construction would be completed by 2025

A majority Labor Government would begin work on redeveloping the Repatriation Hospital from day one of its term.

A total of $390 million has been committed to complete Stage 3 of the existing Royal Hobart Hospital masterplan by establishing a second campus at the former Repatriation Hospital site.

The fully costed plan includes a state-of-the-art mental health facility, new day surgery and endoscopy units, and new rehabilitation and palliative inpatient care units.

Labor’s ambitious construction timeline would see patients begin to be treated within two years of the project’s commencement with construction to be fully completed by 2025.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the biggest issue facing Tasmania’s public hospitals was a lack of space.

“Under the Liberal Party our emergency departments have become overcrowded and overwhelmed which puts so much pressure on our hardworking health staff,” Ms White said.

“This results in a massive backlog of untreated cases in the community, which is growing by the day and severely impacting the health of Tasmanians. 

“Our plan to redevelop the Repatriation Hospital site will allow the transfer of key services from the RHH, opening up more space for emergency and specialist beds.”

Shadow Health Minister Dr Bastian Seidel said Tasmanian hospitals have the worst wait times for specialist beds in the country.

“The Liberal Party has dithered on this issue for far too long,” Dr Seidel said.

“If elected, we will get straight to work on solving the crisis the Liberals have created in Tasmania’s hospitals and on redeveloping this site to give Tasmanians the medical care they require.”

  • Plan to clear excessive elective surgery and outpatient waiting lists over next four years under Labor
  • Record 51,388 people on the outpatient waitlist and 12,086 people on the elective surgery waitlist under the Liberals
  • Labor’s plan means more doctors, more appointments and less waiting

Labor has today unveiled a $137 million plan to fix the Liberals’ health crisis in Tasmania’s hospitals and clear the out-of-control elective surgery and outpatient waitlists with more doctors, more appointments and less waiting time.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said with waitlists blowing out by more than 70 per cent since 2018, Tasmania cannot afford another four years under the Gutwein Government which has over the past seven years turned the state’s health system into a disaster in which Tasmanians are literally dying waiting for help.

“Tasmania’s health system simply will not survive under more neglect and a continued, determined lack of action by the Gutwein Government,” Ms White said.

“That is why this election is so vital - Tasmanians have a crucial choice between Labor’s plan to solve this mess or more of the same broken promises and thought bubbles from the Liberals.

“Our fully costed $137 million plan will mean more doctors, more appointments and less waiting.

“It means more people will receive the health care they need when they need it and closer to home, providing a higher standard of care.

“It means an additional 65 permanent doctors – including 35 medical specialists and 30 surgical specialists - across the state to clear the elective surgery and outpatient waitlist

“It means an additional 150 nurses and midwives across the state to improve standard of patient care. It means getting Tasmanians out of impossible situations where they are living in chronic pain waiting for help that will remain years away under the Liberals.”

Shadow Health Minister Dr Bastian Seidel said Labor’s plan would also prioritise screening for patients with suspected cancer, guaranteeing that they will be seen within two weeks.

“Under the Gutwein Government nationally agreed targets, particularly in relation to bowel cancer, are not being met, with less than 20 per cent of referred patients with suspected cancer being seen on time,” Dr Seidel said.

“The fact is every election the Liberals attempt to con Tasmanians that they will throw more and more taxpayer’s money to fix the crisis they have created in Tasmania’s hospitals, but Tasmanians end up with more of the same chaos.

“The Gutwein Government has now tried it on again, attempting to roll out health policy which really does question why they have failed to invest in health over the last seven years. In the meantime, tens of thousands of Tasmanians are literally living in pain every day waiting to access health care and in some terrible circumstances literally dying.”

Key points:

A Majority Labor Government will;

  • Employ an additional 65 permanent Doctors (35 medical specialists and 30 surgical specialists) across the state to clear the elective surgery and outpatient waitlist
  • Employ an additional 150 Nurses and Midwives across the state to improve standard of patient care
  • Invest in a major IT upgrade to enhance telehealth and online health services
  • $20 million to fund loans of up to $15,000 to buy batteries and solar for homes and businesses
  • Value of solar investment plummeted under Liberals watch
  • Labor will push power prices down while the Liberals will privatise Hydro

A majority Labor Government will set aside $20 million to fund loans of up to $15,000 for people to buy batteries and solar for their homes. 

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the policy would fix the Liberal’s failures on feed-in tariffs and help solar owners keep the value of their investment. 

“Solar owners have been badly let down by the Liberals and have seen the value of their investment crumble after the feed-In tariffs were cut,” Ms White said. 

“The controversial new 'solar tax' proposed by the Australian Energy Market Commission will further hit the value of feed-in tariffs with people set to be charged for exporting solar power to the grid. 

"Due to changes in the national electricity market it is now impossible to simply reinstate the previous tariff rates and the only solution is battery storage. 

“Battery storage is the equivalent of receiving a feed-in tariff equal to the retail rate charged by Aurora. 

“Labor will make interest-free loans available to households and businesses up to the value of $15,000 for the installation of battery storage or solar installation.”

Ms White said the loans would be over ten years, interest free for the first three years and then low interest for the remaining seven. 

“Tasmanians need to feel secure in their solar investment and under the Liberals this has not been the case. 

“This funding will help ensure Tasmanians see return on their solar investment which is both beneficial to them and the environment. 

“While Labor works to push down power prices, Peter Gutwein and the Liberals will carve up and privatise the Hydro. 

“Only Labor is working for Tasmanians to create a better and fairer state.”

  • $500,000 will deliver upgraded park for Gagebrook kids and families 
  • Partnership with Brighton Council, Centacare and MONA will change local landscape
  • Liberals have failed to deliver important public facilities for Tasmanians 

A majority Labor Government will allocate $500,000 to develop an important community space for the local Gagebrook community as part of a wider commitment to build the public facilities the Liberals have failed to deliver.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the funding would go toward the total $1.2 million cost to redevelop Stage One of the Cris Fitzpatrick Park on Tottenham Road, in partnership with the Brighton Council, Centacare Evolve and the MONA 24 Carrots program.

“This commitment from Labor means the redevelopment of the park will have the funding it needs to make a big difference for this community,” Ms White said.

“The Cris Fitzpatrick Park Master Plan is an ambitious and widely supported plan to revitalise this space to make it more accessible, safer and more attractive to the community, especially as the area grows.

“We all understand that local communities need green spaces and parks and this is an important development to give kids and families the best chance to be active and healthy in open and safe public spaces.

“Last year residents were asked to tell Brighton Council what they wanted for the future of Cris Fitzpatrick Park and more than 160 responses were received. 

“That feedback has been taken on board and the Master Plan includes plans for a flying fox, climbing play equipment, water play, lighting, seating, fencing and improved trails and linkages to East Derwent Highway.

 “Unlike the Liberal Government which has become well known for making announcements but failing to deliver, Labor will get to work and build this important community park for the enjoyment of the community.

“The community was asked what it wanted and we have listened. Labor is working for Tasmanians.”

  • Labor has a positive plan to build a better and fairer Tasmania
  • Strong candidates that reflect the Tasmanian community
  • Election a choice between Liberals privatisation agenda and Labor’s plan to create good, secure Tasmanian jobs.

Labor Leader, Rebecca White, today announced Labor’s strong and diverse line up of candidates to contest the May 1 election.

“I am proud to be standing with a group of candidates that truly reflect the communities we strive to serve,” Ms White said.

“A Majority Labor Government will work for Tasmanians every day to make people’s lives better.

“Labor has a clear plan to create more jobs for Tasmanians, we will stop the privatisation of TAFE and Hydro and repair essential services.

“Peter Gutwein has panicked and is running to an election a year early to try to hide his agenda to privatise TasTAFE and carve up and sell Hydro Tasmania assets.

“Over the past seven years the Liberals have created the worst ever waiting lists for surgery – with one in ten Tasmanians now waiting for a procedure. 

“Public housing waiting lists are the worst they have ever been and ambulance response times are the worst in the country.

“The Liberals don’t deserve another four years and Tasmanian services cannot cope with the damage that will be done by 11 years of Liberal Government.”

  • Labor ready to work with the government to manage COVID
  • Bipartisan approach would provide clarity and confidence to Tasmanians
  • The health of Tasmanians and viability of businesses must come first

Labor Leader Rebecca White is calling for the formation of a bipartisan group to manage COVID-19 during the election. 

Ms White has written to Peter Gutwein offering the assistance of Labor members in the management of COVID to ensure the safety of Tasmanians and provide confidence to businesses.

“Holding an election during the ongoing management of COVID will bring some challenges and it is important Tasmania’s focus firmly remains on protecting our community and businesses from another outbreak,” Ms White said.

“The Sorell market is an example of one business that was closed for nearly a year due to COVID and has only just started to recover.

“Tasmania doesn’t need another setback due to the Liberal Government being more focused on going to an election rather than continuing to govern for its full term.

“Working together in a bipartisan manner will provide clarity and confidence for Tasmanians by avoiding politicisation of decisions relating to COVID-19 during the election period. 

“Tasmanian Labor is ready to work with the Liberal Government on any COVID decisions that may be required during the next five weeks if there is another outbreak here or interstate that needs a swift response.

“I urge Peter Gutwein to make the right decision and take up Labor’s offer to ensure the safety of all Tasmanians.”

  • Gutwein must tell Tasmanians how many TasTAFE jobs are to go
  • “fit for purpose” is Gutwein code for “job losses”
  • Only Labor will expand TAFE and make courses more accessible

Peter Gutwein must come clean with Tasmanians and reveal how many jobs will go under his toxic minority government’s plan to blow up TasTafe.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Peter Gutwein failed to give any certainty to teachers and students after repeated questions from Labor in Parliament today.

“The Liberal minority government’s track record on education is appalling,” Ms White said.

“One of Peter Gutwein’s first acts as Treasurer in 2014 was to slash $210 million from the Education budget. 

“He is also overseeing a public school system with some of the worst outcomes in the country – a Year 12 retention rate the lowest of any state at 73.9 per cent and an attainment rate for Year 12 which has slipped for the third year in a row to 58 per cent.

“Now as leader of this toxic minority government he has launched a plan to blow up TAFE after undermining and underfunding it for seven years.

“The PESRAC report makes it clear that there will be a clean out of TAFE jobs under Peter Gutwein’s plan to privatise the institution.”

The report recommends the government should: “fund transition arrangements, including a voluntary redundancy program and support for career transitions.”

“Today in Parliament, Peter Gutwein said the reasoning behind his blow up of TasTAFE was to make it “fit for purpose” which we know is his code for job losses - it’s exactly the same words he used to justify the sacking of Hydro workers.

“The truth is, the government’s plans to privatise TAFE will mean job losses, fewer courses and higher fees, while doing nothing to address Tasmania’s chronic skills shortage.

“In contrast, Labor’s fully-costed Free TAFE policy, which is in addition to our broader plan to rebuild TAFE from the ground up, will support another 20,000 Tasmanians to get a foot in the door to a good job.

“We will invest $22.5 million over four years to expand the teaching workforce by approximately 20 per cent, improve regional delivery and align training with workforce needs, to help Tasmanian businesses and provide Tasmanians with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”

  • Students will be unable to afford TAFE under Liberals’ plan 
  • Premier must admit he’s got it wrong and go back to the drawing board
  • Only Labor will expand TAFE and make courses more accessible

The Liberals need to admit they’ve got it wrong and go back to the drawing board on their poisonous move to blow up TAFE or risk locking students out of the courses they need to get jobs.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the government’s plans to privatise TAFE will mean fewer courses and higher fees, while doing nothing to address Tasmania’s chronic skills shortage.

“For seven years, the Liberals have undermined and underinvested in TAFE, with enrolments declining by more than 30 per cent under their watch,” Ms White said.

“Now, the Premier appears determined to push ahead with plans to blow up TAFE up entirely.

“Despite Mr Gutwein’s claims that it will not be privatised, it is clear that the institution will run on a ‘cost-recovery’ model that will massively increase costs for both students and employers.

“At the moment, student fees represent just over 10 per cent of TAFE’s budget but under the Liberals’ model, forcing TAFE to recover all costs, course costs will skyrocket by ten times, leaving students unable to afford the courses they need.

“Not only that, but the government’s plan has not been costed, meaning the impact on the budget is an unknown black hole.

“As a result, TAFE workers are uncertain about what the future holds and the future of courses in regional areas like Smithton, Scottsdale and Huonville is up in the air.

“In contrast, Labor’s fully-costed Free TAFE policy, which is in addition to our broader plan to rebuild TAFE from the ground up, will support another 20,000 Tasmanians to get a foot in the door to a good job.

“We will invest $22.5 million over four years to expand the teaching workforce by approximately 20 per cent, improve regional delivery and align training with workforce needs, to help Tasmanian businesses and provide Tasmanians with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”

  • Peter Gutwein has lost control of his party and is governing in minority
  • Internal fighting in the Liberal Party reaches boiling point
  • Liberals too busy fighting and are holding Tasmania back

Peter Gutwein has lost control of his party with news of Sue Hickey’s “sacking” now forcing him to govern in minority.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said this extraordinary development is yet another example of a Liberal Government in turmoil.

“The internal fighting in the Liberal Party has reached boiling point with today’s news of Peter Gutwein finally losing control and effectively sacking Sue Hickey,” Ms White said.

“This will have huge implications for the party with Peter Gutwein now effectively governing in minority by having to rely on the support of an independent. 

“In the past few weeks, we have seen the deep ideological divide in the Liberal Party exposed for all to see.

“We have seen an extraordinary war waged by press release to stymy debate on Voluntary Assisted Dying laws and this ideological split is not limited to Voluntary Assisted Dying – that is just the issue that brought it to the surface.

“These are the same fault lines that emerged last January when Peter Gutwein and Jeremy Rockliff edged out rival leadership team Michael Ferguson and Elise Archer by a single vote.

“These divisions feed the Liberal Government’s policy paralysis and ultimately they are holding Tasmania back.

“What has happened to Sue Hickey is part of a much bigger problem within the Liberal Party and today she called the party out on its treatment of women, saying:

“This is a challenging time for the Liberal Party and its supporters. It appears that the men in dark suits are firmly in control and there is no place for small ‘l’ Liberal women who refuse to kowtow or be subservient to the dominant males.”

“We only need to look at the recent alarming issues that have surfaced federally to see there are huge problems within the Liberal Party around equality, ethics and values.

“The Gutwein Government is too busy fighting amongst themselves to focus on rebuilding Tasmania and looking after our people.

“They have run out of ideas of their own and that was obvious with the announcements made by the Premier last week that drew largely on policy announced by Labor last year in our fully costed jobs plan.  

“The Liberal Government is worn out and distracted by infighting. In contrast, Labor has a strong, capable and united team which is working hard to make Tasmania a better and fairer place.”

  • Taxpayers fund full page ads in three newspapers
  • How much are Tasmanians paying for these ads?
  • Premier Peter Gutwein refuses to detail the cost of his spending spree

Premier Peter Gutwein will not reveal how much taxpayer money is being used to fund his Government’s advertising campaign on his politically motivated attempt to destroy TAFE.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Government’s use of public money to take-out full-page ads in Tasmania’s three major newspapers was a slap in the face to all the hardworking staff at TAFE.  

“The Government is funding it’s war on TAFE with taxpayer money,” Ms White said. 

“This reeks of the attack they launched on TasWater with taxpayer funds being used to peddle misinformation and half-truths that ultimately failed. 

“The attack on TasWater proved Peter Gutwein couldn’t bully his way to fixing a problem but it seems he hasn’t learned from his past mistakes.”

Ms White questioned the Government’s use of statements from respected peak bodies in the ads, asking whether the bodies were even advised on the nature of the advertisements they were quoted in. 

“Peter Gutwein cannot keep this information a secret and must let Tasmanians know how much of their hard-earned money is being spent on politically motivated ads.

“Peter Gutwein cannot be allowed to use the public purse to wage his war against TAFE.”

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