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Monday, February 06, 2006

LABOR DROPS BALL ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND CHILD PROTECTION

Tasmanian Greens ...Media Release

Re-Prioritisation Critical for Sustainable Economy
The Tasmanian Greens today said Tasmania’s poor results released by the Productivity Commission for Tasmanian Health funding and waiting lists, education, and child protection services reveals the full extent to which the Lennon government failed to focus and prioritise these vital areas and instead has allowed itself to be distracted by racetracks and flawed dam proposals.

Greens Opposition Health and Education spokesperson Tim Morris MHA said that turning around these health and education figures, especially the school retention rates, is critical to driving the turn-around to a long term sustainable economy.

Mr Morris said that the government’s response that the Productivity Report used out-dated figures was an unacceptable tired and deceptive excuse, as well as being sadly predictable.

“The Labor government has been in power for the last eight years, and over that time these national reports keep reiterating that our hospital and dental waiting lists are longer than the national average, our dental services are suffering, our children requiring urgent help are have to wait, and that our education standards also do not reach national standards in key areas,” Mr Morris said.

“It is critical that the government prioritises addressing numeracy and literacy standards in all age groups, and turns around our school retention rates from being the second worst in the country to leading the way.”

“Economic analysts such as Saul Eslake have identified that prioritising education resourcing and standards is the most critical thing to turn around and drive a long term sustainable economic renaissance – and the government has not met this challenge.”

“People don’t want to be told to ignore these trends, they want to hear what the government is going to do about turning them around so the point we meet, if not lead, the national benchmarks.”

“The Health Minister, David Llewellyn, has once again relied on confusing the situation by releasing different statistics, and complaining that the Productivity Report has used old figures.”

“Minister Llewellyn is well aware that the Productivity Commission can only use the figures which are provided to it and need that current information to be collated in a consistent manner, but the government has chosen to either not provide the full information or have not done so in the appropriate format.”

“We need a consistent and nationally comparable system of collating and presenting this data, to assist in identifying priority areas, but that will only work if the government participates and is then open to receiving the results instead of merely dismissing them.”

“Tasmanians cannot afford for the Lennon government to go into a state of denial over their health, education and child protection services,” Mr Morris said.

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