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Hands-off Health Minister has to clean up his Royal Hobart Hospital mess

  • Michael Ferguson contracts out responsibility as well as construction work
  • Local firms and workers must be a priority for Ferguson after latest debacle
  • Michael Ferguson needs to provide guarantee today that deadlines will not blow out

The unacceptable debacle around up to 130 unpaid construction workers at the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment – and today’s termination of the sub-contractor who employed them – demands the attention of a Health Minister who actually cares about getting the job done.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said embattled Health Minister Michael Ferguson needed to take responsibility for the chain of events which has seen workers walk off the job and provide immediate updates on the redevelopment’s deadlines.
“Just because you contract out the actual work doesn’t mean you contract out responsibility or that you can turn a blind eye to shameful exploitation of workers – which is precisely what Michael Ferguson has done,” Ms Lovell said.
“Labor has committed to an investigation into labour hire practices across Tasmania and after this situation, the Hodgman Liberal Government should do the same.
“Michael Ferguson is ultimately in charge of the biggest infrastructure project in Tasmania and, in the midst of a health and hospital crisis, he has to finally step in.
“Will Michael Ferguson today give assurances that the tens of thousands of dollars owed to workers in unpaid wages will be paid?
“Will Michael Ferguson today give a guarantee that the redevelopment will still be delivered on time?
“Will Michael Ferguson step in today and ensure that local Tasmanian sub-contractors and workers are given the opportunity to carry out this critical work so another debacle like this can be avoided?
“If Michael Ferguson cannot answer those very, very important questions and if Michael Ferguson is not prepared to step up and take some responsibility, Premier Hodgman must do what patients and clinicians are calling for and find a Health Minister who wants to address the crisis, ensure the redevelopment is completed on time and deliver health services for Tasmanians.”

Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health and Preventative Health Care Minister