10 July 2012 Subject: Carbon tax impact on Tasmanian health system, Tas health bailout.
NIKOLIC: It’s wonderful to have Peter Dutton here visiting us. He is the eleventh Coalition Shadow Minister to come and visit us in Northern Tasmania, to get an insight into our interests and aspirations and we’ve had some wonderful meetings here this morning. I think it augers well for a Coalition Government, for representation in Bass and Braddon, that if we are successful at the next election, we can hit the ground running on issues like health, so thanks very much Peter for being with us here today.
PETER DUTTON: Firstly, I want to say thankyou very much to Andrew and also to Senator Stephen Parry for the invitation to be here and thank you also to St Vincent’s, for hosting us this morning.
There are a couple of points that I think are worth making in the debate at the moment. The first is in relation to the carbon tax impact on the Tasmanian health system.
Queensland has released the impact and it’s close to $30 million a year, New South Wales has released the impact, a similar amount and the carbon tax impact in Victoria is estimated to be North of $13 million, in the first year and rising. But Tasmania refuses to release this figure and if the Premier is not being honest with the people of Tasmania, then how will we know how much money will be needed to be ripped out of the Tasmanian health system, to pay for the impost of the carbon tax? States aren’t being compensated for the impost of the carbon tax on the public system and of course at a hospital like St Vincent’s they have a power bill of over $535,000 a year. No private hospital is being compensated under the carbon tax and so that will mean that patients will pay more for their private health insurance as well. So as each days goes by, we learn that this carbon tax is infiltrating every aspect of our life, it’s making cost of living more expensive for Tasmanian families and I think the Premier of Tasmania needs to come out today and tell the people of Tasmania, to be honest with the Tasmanian public, about how much the carbon tax is going to cost the health system and where that money is going to come from. If it’s $2 million a year, does that mean that we won’t have $2 million to pay for nurses or elective surgery? This is a government of course that already has an appalling track record when it comes to the health system in Tasmania.
The other point I want to make is in relation to the recent federal bailout. As I understand it, the State Government still hasn’t put pen to paper on that agreement. Now maybe they have done it in secret and they haven’t publicly disclosed that. But, has the Tasmania Premier put pen to paper on this agreement? Has every condition that the Commonwealth put to that $325 million been met? And the other call today of course is on Tanya Plibersek, to guarantee that not one dollar of that money will be spent on new health bureaucracies. I want all of that federal money spent on elective surgery, doctors and nurses delivering to patients and I called a couple of weeks ago on the Federal Health Minister to give that guarantee and so far she’s refused to do it. So can Tanya Plibersek give a guarantee to the Tasmanian Public, that not one dollar of that $325 million, will go on new health bureaucrats, on health spin doctors instead of real doctors? Because if we can’t get that guarantee, then some of that money is going to be eaten up in areas that it shouldn’t be spent and that’s I think the reasonable calls that we make on the state and federal governments today.
REPORTER:Just on another topic, Peter, are you concerned that Tony Abbott’s approval as preferred Prime Minister is almost as bad as Julia Gillard’s at this point?
PETER DUTTON:Well I think what the Tasmanian public can see in Tony Abbott is someone who is able to lead. The problem with Julia Gillard at the moment is that her leading is all about imposing new taxes and if you’re going to slug families with new taxes, including the carbon tax, the mining tax and we see the impost of the carbon tax on families today and the Tasmanian public health system. If that’s the leadership that Julia Gillard’s got to put forward than no wonder her colleagues are talking about changing leader. But in the end people will make a decision at the next election and I believe that the Coalition has put forward a united team, a team that is absolutely dedicated to abolishing this carbon tax and I think that’s what Tasmanians and Australians are interested in at the moment.
REPORTER:Do you believe you’ll be best led under Tony Abbott?
PETER DUTTON:I think there is no doubt that Tony Abbott has completely revitalised the Coalition team. He’s an exceptional leader and I think if you look at the fact that Tony Abbott is a Rhodes Scholar, the fact that he has got an economics and a law degree. If you look at the fact that when he was Health Minister he doubled the number of medical places in this country, so those doctors are starting to graduate now. He put in place the Medicare Safety Net. He introduced the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme. He was an incredibly successful Minister and I think the more the public see of Tony Abbott, the more they are going to believe that he is going to be a great Prime Minister, at the time of the next election.
REPORTER:Are these News Polls a bit of a worry?
PETER DUTTON:Well we’re obviously in a situation where we are fifty six, forty four in News Poll at the moment. The Labor Party is on the verge of changing leaders you’d presume. There are putting new taxes on families on a daily basis, because they can’t get their spending under control. They are divided and directionless. They’re a bad government getting worse and what we need to do is that me make sure we continue to be a united team under a great leader and I think that if we do that and say that and at the election, there will be a change of Government. If we can do that, we’ll abolish the carbon tax and that’s what the Australian people want.
Thanks very much.