ADJOURNMENT SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT
Madam Speaker, I first want to compliment the Premier on his outstanding address. I am pleased on this adjournment to discuss the Hodgman Liberal Government’s strong record of achievement at the Launceston General Hospital and across my electorate of Bass.
The Government is committed to delivering the One Health System reforms that change the way our health system operates so we can get better results for all Tasmanians. These reforms are guided by the best advice from clinicians and medical professionals. Just last week we announced the permanent opening of not 12 but 15 beds on ward 4D at the LGH which have in the past and will continue to greatly assist patient flow and care. The AMA, the ANMF and the Medical Staff Association at the hospital all welcome this important measure and the security that comes with it.
These beds are making a difference. I am advised that ambulance ramping at the LGH has significantly dropped since we temporarily reopened some of these beds late last year, reversing Labor’s legacy of closing beds, putting those beds into storage and cutting staff at the LGH. All of this adds to the other beds opened at the LGH under this Government, including the short-stay surgical unit which complements the two additional surgical theatres we opened and staffed. This has delivered the record volumes of surgery we have just heard about in the Premier’s address, as well as a record low waiting list and improving waiting times.
We are extending care beyond the LGH with a permanent extended care paramedic service and a first intervention vehicle providing better care across greater Launceston and reducing hospital admissions. Our community rapid response service is providing in-home care across Launceston, with more than 2300 appointments for clinical nursing care and other services provided. This is providing care at home, something desperately needed after Labor cut the successful Hospital in the Home program in the last term of its government.
We are investing in better infrastructure, including the $5 million upgrade to the specialist clinics that were more than 35 years old and outdated. There is a $4 million upgrade to allied health clinics, including a special care dental unit, as well as upgrades to the nursing call system, and an $8 million upgrade to the 4K children’s ward, which was funded in last year’s budget. This is the first major work on the kids’ ward since it was built. I know and understand the challenges that our families face when their loved children are acutely sick. I passionately believe in this project and, frankly, it is long overdue.
The Government is working hard to rebuild Tasmania’s broken health system, including solutions to ensure patients get better, timelier care across our health system, including in our emergency departments. These are difficult steps to be taking working through, but they are necessary and, importantly, they are showing they are working.
Beyond the health system, this Government has made many significant achievements across my electorate of Bass. In IT we have launched free wi-fi for the public in Bridport, Scottsdale, Derby and George Town, as well as Launceston at the Gorge, the CBD, City Park, QVMAG and Seaport, building our tourism and visitor economy.
We have also contributed $100 000 to create Australia’s first citywide IOT network in the city. We have supported an enterprise hub, which provides services to individuals and small groups of entrepreneurs seeking to start or develop businesses. Coming up at Launceston Enterprise there will be range of talks, forums, lectures, events such as Gov Hack and the Digital Ready for Business program, which provides targeted knowledge, skills and advice to help small business to participate and grow in the digital economy.
In education we have invested heavily to upgrade our schools, with millions flowing for upgrades at Queechy, Riverside, Kings Meadows and Prospect High Schools, as well as Riverside and East Launceston Primary. In most of these cases, including the one that I taught at, these upgrades are very overdue and greatly welcomed.
We have supported our Neighbourhood Houses across Bass and we are upgrading parks and walking tracks to improve the recreation and leisure of all who live in the north of the state. We are funding transport initiatives, including the George Town rail freight terminal and the Bridport entrance upgrade.
It is great that we saw on the front page of the Examiner today the final go-ahead at the CH Smith site, with that much-needed redevelopment strongly supported by this Government, its jobs, its progress and its resolving a generations-old eyesore on one of Launceston’s arterial routes.
Madam Speaker, I am very grateful to serve as a member for Bass, to be part of this Government that is delivering real improvements for the people of northern Tasmania I proudly represent.