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2019-20 Budget: More support for emergency services and continuing our nation-leading Fuel Reduction Burns

After five years of solid investment by the Hodgman Liberal Government in our Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management, this year’s State Budget is focussed on maintaining this momentum and investing for growth.

The Hodgman Liberal Government recognises the importance of community fire safety and flood mitigation which is why we are funding upgrades for equipment, infrastructure and strategic fuel reduction burns.

2019-20 State Budget is investing for growth with $13.1 million allocated for new medium tankers, heavy pumpers and aerial appliances as part of the Fire Fighting Appliances Replacement Program.

A total of $3.3 million is also available for the replacement and refurbishment of fire stations.

Our nation-leading strategic risk-based Fuel Reduction Program involves a whole-of-government approach and will maintain the current momentum with funding of $9 million per year.

In the first four years of the program, 533 fuel reduction burns were completed across the state, encompassing more than 63,752 hectares, of which 10,848 hectares was private land.

Local Government authorities will also be receiving emergency management planning and education support with $1.5 million over four years to allow the SES to employ Regional Emergency Management Planning and Development Officers.

While the final cost of this summer’s bushfire event is still being determined, $64 million has been allocated this financial year and, due to the state’s strong financial management, we are also able to allocate $10 million in the 2019-20 Budget to cover future costs associated with this event.

Additionally, following an application from the Tasmanian Government, about half of the cost of the fires is expected to be recovered through the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DFRA).

Throughout the summer Tasmania’s firefighters, emergency service personnel, volunteers and community organisations did an outstanding job protecting and supporting communities in the face of the largest fire event in Tasmania since 1967.

In recognition of our amazing volunteers, an injection of $2 million over four years began in 2018-19 and is being provided to volunteer Tasmania Fire Service brigades and State Emergency Service units to apply for non-essential equipment, training, recruitment and community engagement activities.

Following any major fire event there are always lessons to be learned and the best way for that to occur is through a robust, independent review, with input from experts.

The Hodgman Liberal Government has commissioned the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, the peak body responsible for representing fire, emergency services and land management agencies, to undertake an independent review.

The review is being led by West Australian Mal Cronstedt AFSM, who has more than 40 years of experience in fire and emergency services. The final review is expected to be delivered to Government in coming months.

2019-20 Budget: Delivering on our commitment to support frontline police and cracking down on criminals

The Hodgman Liberal Government continues to deliver on its commitment to boost frontline police numbers to help keep Tasmanian communities safe.

During this term of Government we committed to recruit a further 125 police officers and this process is already begun with graduations in December 2018 and April 2019 increasing police numbers by a further 21 officers to 1254 full-time equivalents.

This year’s Budget will maintain this momentum with ongoing funding for more police recruitment with the first course for 2019 currently underway at the Police Academy and second course due to start in August 2019.

Between 2014 and 2018 we successfully restored the 108 police office numbers savagely cut by Labor and the Greens because we are strong supporters of community safety and boosting frontline police capacity.

The Budget is also investing for growth with $10 million for the construction of police stations at New Norfolk and Longford with the planning and development of these new purpose-built facilities continuing this year.

The $12 million investment in a new Emergency Services Hub at Sorell will start this year with the planning phase and also acquisition of land for the hub.

Since the election we have been working to ensure Tasmania Police have the tools they need to crack down on crime.

Last year we passed legislation on Outlaw Motorcycle Gang colours and consorting, as well as ongoing funding to roll-out of body-worn cameras to frontline officers, with over 260 body-worn camera devices deployed to officers across the State.

The Hodgman Liberal Government makes no apology for being tough on crime and backing our police force as they protect our communities and keep Tasmanians safer.

2019-20 Budget: Investing in health services in the North-West

The Hodgman Liberal Government is continuing to invest in the essential health services and infrastructure the North-West needs in this year’s State Budget.

We believe all Tasmanians deserve access to the best possible healthcare, which is why we are opening more acute and sub-acute beds on the Coast, investing in vital infrastructure, and increasing services.

This year’s Budget is about maintaining the momentum and investing for growth. For the North-West, that includes:

• More than $20 million over four years to staff the eight new beds at the North West Regional Hospital

• Continued funding for 27 new drug and alcohol rehabilitation beds in the North and North West, including $2.4 million in this year’s Budget for 12 beds in Ulverstone and five beds at Serenity House in Sulphur Creek as part of the beds opened last year

• Continuation of our $35 million Mersey Community Hospital upgrades, with $31.6 million in this year’s Budget to complete the works

• $4 million for brand new services at the Mersey Community Hospital, which will follow the completion of the redevelopment

• A new Ambulance Station in Burnie and extra paramedics in Wynyard

• $2 million to complete the construction of the new antenatal clinic at the NWRH

• $9.8 million to complete Stage 2 of the King Island Redevelopment. These works will deliver a range of improvements to acute care, emergency and after-hours access, and a kitchen upgrade

• Roll-out of the highly successful Community Rapid Response service, which enables patients to be treated at home or in the community, reducing demand on our hospitals. This service will include an estimated 17 FTE staff, including 12 new nurses

2019-20 Budget: Funding for health services and staff in Northern Tasmania

The Hodgman Liberal Government is continuing to deliver the essential health services, new infrastructure, and more staff that the North needs.

The 2019-20 State Budget is about maintaining the momentum and investing for growth, and it includes $15.06 million for eight new beds on Ward 4K at the Launceston General Hospital, which will be staffed with 26 new full-time equivalent staff, including 18 nurses.

These beds will significantly improve the care our health system is able to provide for young Tasmanians.

The $87 million LGH Redevelopment is continuing this year, with $61.2 million allocated over four years to progress crucial new facilities and deliver new capacity.

This funding will provide the vital space needed for a range of services, including the Women and Children’s precinct and the completion of the redeveloped Ward 4K, which features the first ever acute inpatient mental health facilities for young Tasmanians.

Importantly, the LGH Masterplan will be completed over the next 12 months, which will help chart the course of the next stages of development and ensure we get it right.

The Budget and Forward Estimates includes:

• $4.6 million to complete the carpark upgrades at the LGH

• Funding for 3 new paramedics at St Helens, 3 at Deloraine and 3 at Bicheno, along with the new Northern Branch Station Officer Team Leader

• 10 additional graduate nurse positions in 2019-20, continuing our significant investment in supporting new nurses

• Funding for 10 drug and alcohol rehab beds at Launceston Missiondale, as part of the $4 million funding for new rehab beds across the state.

Health is a top priority for the Hodgman Liberal Government, and we will continue to invest in services, staff and facilities across Tasmania.

2019-20 Budget: Ambulance funding almost doubles

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to improving ambulance response times across Tasmania and easing demand pressures on paramedics.

That’s why we have boosted funding for Ambulance Tasmania in the 2019-20 Budget with $20 million in new funding over four years to help meet increasing demand for health services.

As our economy continues to grow, the Budget supports and encourages growth that benefits all Tasmanians, by delivering unprecedented infrastructure spending and the State’s largest ever Budget for health.

This budget is very much about maintaining the momentum and investing for growth, and health is an important component of this.

We have already significantly increased ambulance services, but we know there is still more to do, so this year’s Budget delivers $438 million over the next four years.

That’s over $200 million more than the 2013-14 Budget – an 87 per cent increase in just five years.

This is backed up by the 2019 Productivity Commission Report on Government Services, which reported that ambulance funding in Tasmania is at record levels, and well above the national average.

In this year’s Budget, we are continuing to roll out our $125 million plan for Ambulance Tasmania, including:

• $40 million over the next four years for our lifesaving dedicated aeromedical service

• $10.2 million to implement Secondary Triage, to reduce demand on our ambulance services

• $3 million to secure additional positions within the Statewide Operations Centre

• $21 million for our new rural and regional paramedics program, which will see 42 new paramedics employed across the state.

The first 18 recruits will commence this year, and will be stationed at:

o Wynyard

o Bicheno

o St Helens

o Deloraine

o Dodges Ferry

o Regional Branch Station Officer Team Leaders

We will also start building and upgrading important new Ambulance Tasmania infrastructure, including:

• Brand new ambulance stations at Burnie, Glenorchy and Campbell Town

• Smithton ambulance training facility upgrades

• Continuation of the $15 million Rural Health Facility Infrastructure funding, which is providing resources for upgrades and refurbishments

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to supporting our hardworking paramedics and volunteer ambulance officers by employing more staff and building vital new infrastructure.

2019-20 Budget: Opening more beds at the Royal Hobart Hospital

The Hodgman Liberal Government is delivering $132 million in the 2019-20 State Budget to progressively open new beds at the Royal Hobart Hospital, following the completion of Stage 1 of the Redevelopment and refurbishments to existing areas.

The Budget is about maintaining the momentum and investing for growth in essential services.

This funding will see more than 100 new beds open at the RHH over the next four years, delivering a huge long-term capacity boost for acute health services for the entire state.

This includes a new dedicated adolescent unit with specialised mental health care for young Tasmanians.

It is estimated more than 460 new full-time equivalent nurses, doctors and health professionals will be recruited to staff these additional beds, including:

• Nearly 300 FTE nurses

• 60 FTE doctors

• 40 FTE allied health professionals

We are investing in the vital health infrastructure we need to deliver additional services, and that includes $90.6 million to commence stage 2 of the RHH Redevelopment.

This will see an expansion to the Emergency Department, more ICU beds and ward upgrades over three years.

The RHH Redevelopment is the largest health infrastructure project Tasmania has ever seen and the Hodgman Liberal Government is proud to finally be delivering it, after it was talked about for generations.

We know there is increased demand on our hospitals, which is why this budget also includes $180 million to reduce pressure across the Tasmanian Health Service, and $40 million to support emergency care and bed access.

Importantly, this includes support for any immediate measures adopted following the planned Access Solutions Meeting, and to assist in supporting the commissioning of additional hospital capacity enabled by the Royal Hobart Hospital Redevelopment.

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