Rebecca White MP | Labor Member for Lyons

The Labor party’s firm and unwavering view is that Government has the responsibility to look after those who are most vulnerable and this includes providing appropriate public housing.

The Liberal Government have other ideas having announced they will give away up to 500 public housing properties with title. The Minister has not produced a shred of evidence to support this sudden decision to begin giving away public assets. No cost benefit analysis, no modelling, certainly no independent advice. 

One of Labor’s concerns is that there has been a lack of transparency around the Government's intention to transfer these 500 titles. The Minister has stated that it was a policy taken to the 2014 election, but the election policy only says the Liberal Party will “examine” the possible transfer. It does not place a timeframe on that and certainly does not make a firm or clear commitment.

From any reasonable person's reading of the Government’s Affordable Housing Strategy and the Affordable Housing Action Plan, it would be safe to assume that the Government’s intention was to enable community housing providers to have the opportunity to manage additional properties and use this to further invest in public housing stock.  

However, we have now learnt that this is not the Government’s intention at all. What they actually meant is they intend to give away up to 500 public housing properties.

There is no process detailed for how the transfer of these 500 properties will happen and what safeguards will be put in place to ensure these homes will be maintained as affordable housing. There is no detail about what, if any, modelling exists for how the Government has identified 150 new properties can be built if the transfer of 500 titles occurs. There have been no details provided from this Minister about what, if any, work the Government has done to address the legitimate concerns that have been raised and acknowledged by the Minister herself about the transfer of title.

There are too many questions that remain unanswered about this rushed process and the Government should put the transfer on hold until the Tasmanian public has more information. 

The Tasmanian winter is in full swing and on a cold winter morning it can be difficult to get out of bed. One motivation might be the thought of hopping into a warm shower. But the cost to do this might be about to jump. This month Labor has launched a petition calling for TasNetworks to rule out drastically increasing the cost of hot water and heating.

TasNetworks is considering abolishing Tariff 41 from its energy pricing structure. Many households rely on Tariff 41 to run their hot water and heating. Tariff 41 applies to household type hot water supply systems with direct wired electric heating and permanently installed wired-in electric heaters.  Tariff 41 provides houses with hot water at a discounted rate of around 17 cents per day for the fixed cost, compared to the general Tariff 31 which costs around 90 cents a day. 

LABOR’S BIG RED BUS will be attending the local Sorell Market on Sunday the 13th of September 2015. There will be activities such as face painting and games on LABOR’S BIG RED BUS to keep the kids entertained while you and other community members get the opportunity to meet with Labor MPs to discuss what the community would like to see happen in the local area; Labor party MPs will provide direct feedback on the concerns and suggestions that all community members have.

Labor has two policies ‘‘Preventative Health’’ and ‘Preventative Health’ which they would like to discuss with the community. Labor’s investment towards ‘Active Kids – Active Communities’ will provide disadvantaged young Tasmanian children aged between 5-17 years of age financial support to join a registered sporting organisation in their local community. Labor’s ‘Preventative Health’ policy is aimed at preventing young Tasmanians becoming overweight and facing the lifetime risks associated with obesity. Labor will phase out the sale of soft drinks in public schools and vending machines found in schools.

Make sure you bring the whole family to the local Sorell Market for a family day filled with fun and games for the kids and the opportunity to meet Labor MPs and discuss what matters to you in your local community!  

The Causeway Club was presented with a $500 cheque from Rebecca White MP in recognition of the important work they do providing friendship and support to older members in the Sorell community.

Ms White said it was important the Club continued to receive financial support to help them run the bus trips they regularly take to different parts of Tasmania.

The Causeway Club meets every second Thursday from 9:30am till 1:30pm at the Sorell RSL Club. The Club provides a supportive environment for older members in the community to play games, meet new friends and just have a chat. Run by volunteers the Causeway Club has no joining fee and an entry fee of $5 covers a 2 course home cooked lunch, morning tea and a cuppa.  

Click here to read my budget reply speech.

Earlier this month I gave my budget reply speech, I highlighted Labor’s commitment to health, education and jobs. Unfortunately the Liberal governments lack of vision means that this year’s budget is a lost opportunity for Tasmania.

The Hodgman Liberal government’s only budget priority is the next election. Unlike the Liberals, Labor is committed to delivering a vision for Tasmania that extends beyond the next election cycle.

A Labor government would take a leadership role in promoting preventive health policies, investing in early years education and supporting a smart future for Tasmania.

Read my budget reply speech here which outlines Labor’s compassionate vision for the future of Tasmania.

Labor strongly believes in grass roots preventative health programs that actively engage communities in their own health and wellbeing.  In keeping with this belief, Labor has announced two new preventative health policies focussing on providing healthy alternatives to sugary drinks and regulating electronic cigarettes.

The Liberal Government is embarking on a dramatic change to the way health services are delivered in Tasmania. Some of the changes outlined in the White Paper are well intentioned to limit duplication and provide safer and more efficient services. But there are challenges too, like requiring patients to travel further for complex care.

The Minister’s approach to health reform has focussed heavily on what our main hospitals offer and doesn’t give thoughtful consideration to the way health services are delivered in our regions. The way we can make significant improvements to health outcomes across the state is to invest resources early and focus on reducing avoidable hospitalisations.

As we await the publication of the ‘white paper draft exposure’ on health reform we have been told by the Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson, that there will be news in the white paper that some people won’t like.

Change is difficult at the best of times but health reform in Tasmania is happening at the same time the Liberal Government is slashing $210 million from the health system, shutting beds and removing staff from key services.

The power of community advocacy has once again been demonstrated after growing concern that Tasmanians living on the East Coast would miss out on a visit from the BreastScreen Mobile Unit. The mobile unit provides free vital breast cancer screening services to women across the state.

Over the last few months the East Coast community, the Council and I have put pressure on the Minister for Health to request that the BreastScreen Mobile Unit visit St Marys & Bicheno. Minister Ferguson recently announced in parliament that the Liberal Government had a change of heart and the unit’s visit to St Marys and Bicheno would be restored. This is great outcome for the community and once again demonstrates the power of a community working together to achieve a common goal.

Recently 29 women in St Marys have been treated for breast cancer and there is clear evidence that shows that early detection will save lives. Women in regional Tasmania should not miss out on these vital services.

The Breast Screen Mobile Unit will now visit Swansea (13th - 17th April), Bicheno (20th – 24th April), St Helens (11th May – 26th May) and St Marys (27th – 29th May). To make a booking call 13 20 50.

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Rebecca White

Authorised by Lindsay White, 276 Masons Road, Nugent, 7172