Wednesday 03 June 2015
Hansard of the Legislative Council


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I mention, and it might have been the member for Huon who also mentioned, some of the good things in the Budget concerning allocations to schools.  I want to highlight Riverside High School in my electorate.  They have their just desserts after quite some time.  You may recall the speech I made here on the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Riverside High School.  I made the point that if people who were the original students at the school go back for that reunion it will be like a time warp because nothing will have changed in the 50 years.  It was really the funding because what has happened is that their facilities for a high school are antiquated, yet the results they produce with their students and the quality of the students are high.

We might have one or two sitting in the Chamber at the moment, which proves my point, who have proven themselves as excellent students and have gone on to forge good and powerful lives in Tasmania's citizenry.  The time has come for Riverside High School to receive that allocated money that is going to mean so much to the students, the parents and the teachers.

Ms Forrest - I do the same with Smithton High.  The gym that has just been replaced was opened the year I was born, and nothing had been done to it since. 

Mr FINCH - There comes a time for schools.  They are on a roster.

Ms Forrest - Some have been left off the roster.

Mr FINCH - Some have been left off the roster, yes.  You have to check the roster from time to time to see if you still have a job.  That was always an edict in my career.  What does the future hold now for Riverside High? 

Mr President, you will be interested in this - each year I make presentations to the Riverside High School to those students who in the previous year have represented the school at a state level.  You can imagine if you have a school that has a representative, or a couple of representatives, you would be as pleased as Punch.  I regularly give certificates to more than 50 students every year who represent the state, not only in the academic area but also in sport.  It might also be a reflection of the area from which the students are sourced really good parents, a lot of two-parent families, and very strong contributors to the school and to their children.  They are heavily involved with their sporting and after-school activity, and they probably even work with their children on their homework, from looking at the academic results.  They are very involved in the development of their children and that is why there are good results.  That is why I am pleased. 

You talk this up and then you notice that it is not going to commence until 2017-18.  At least it is on the agenda and that can give some heart to the school community.

Prospect High is also in the member for Launceston's area and she has already acknowledged the $8.5 million they are going to receive.  I mention that because many of my constituents have children who go to Summerdale Primary School, West Launceston Primary School or Glen Dhu, and Prospect High is an option for them as they continue their high school careers.  Those two high schools in my area or close to my area, have been the beneficiaries of funds that will see the schools having better facilities.

I now focus on this Budget - a typical second budget for a conservative government.  That is not to denigrate it, but just to state the facts.  Its focus is on small government and fewer services and particularly health services.  I will talk more about that in a moment in regard to a letter I received from the Minister for Health. 

The Treasurer's introduction to his budget speech is somewhat self-congratulatory.  I quote him:
Tasmania has come a long way in the last 15 months.  Under our long-term plan the economy is growing, jobs have been created, and we are improving frontline services and, importantly, we are getting the state's finances back on track.

Ms Forrest - You would not expect him to criticise himself.

Mr FINCH - Time will tell and this Government's work will unfold.  Early in the speech there was a prediction of 8 000 new jobs.  I am not sure how the savage cuts to public services in the Budget come in here.  There is also a prediction of a return to a budget surplus in the 2016-17 financial year.  I doubt whether the Tasmanian public is very concerned about a surplus, but I do know they are concerned when health workers and schoolteachers have their jobs taken away.  You have already heard that some schools have lost four - did I hear somebody say some schools had lost four people?  Some have lost two. 

This Budget does practically nothing to restore cuts in services made by this Government and the previous government, particularly in health, although there is some spending on health infrastructure ‑ the allied health clinic at the Launceston General Hospital, for example.  I also saw in the news that the ambulance centre in Launceston has been significantly upgraded.  However, new health infrastructure projects are not much use without the staff or the budget to run them. 

The Treasurer's speech is big on what he terms 'public safety'.  I had reservations about that in my budget reply speech last year.  Nothing has changed, so I am going to quote from my speech from last September -

I have some reservations about some other measures.  There is $33 million over four years to increase police numbers.  Does Tasmania really need more police or does it need to restructure how our police service works?  Along the lines of a debate raging in Victoria in light of new concepts of dealing with and preventing crime.  That is an interesting debate going on there and it is something we might take note of.

I doubt much note has been taken of the Victorian policing debate.  I am sure one of our former commanders would like to make a comment.

Mr Dean - The police are on a continual restructure as they move forward.  They do not have a set position they stick by forever and a day.  They completely restructure as they are going through the whole system.  Project BATON, which happened a few years ago, is a classic example of how they restructure the whole organisation.

Mr FINCH - Yes, it evolves and changes.  There are different dynamics in the community, and areas of concern like the ice situation that has come up.  So I was pretty safe in what I said.

As a non-economist, I take great interest in the opinions of economists that I respect.  There is, of course, Saul Eslake, but another Tasmanian economist, John Lawrence, has an internet site called Tasfintalk.  I was interested to see what John Lawrence thought of the Budget.  I will quote the beginning of Mr Lawrence's latest article:

The sudden turnaround in the state's fiscal fortunes as revealed in Treasurer Peter Gutwein's Budget this week has everyone wondering. 

Is it good management or good luck? 

Only one more deficit, in 2015-2016, before we return to surplus in 2016-2017.  Can it be true? 

It depends on how one calculates a deficit.  If one does so on a cash basis as the Federal Government does, then Tasmania will be in deficit for the next two years at least.
To most observers it is misleading to proclaim a surplus when cash outlays exceed cash receipts.  That's what Mr Gutwein has done.  Cash outlays are 2 per cent more in 2015‑2016 and 1 per cent more in 2016-2017.

Mr Lawrence continued -

With the State Government operating a cash in/cash out operation, it's the only sensible prudent way to assess our situation.  Thereafter cash surpluses are predictable. 

But with each successive year the reliability of the forward estimates diminishes exponentially.
Even with the blue sky forward estimates, the Government's actual cash position only improves by $90 million over the next four years.
Let's not get carried away with the call of an imminent surplus.  One third of all public servants who are members of the state's now-closed, defined benefits super scheme don't have any employer contributions set aside on a monthly basis as do other employees. 

This saves the Government an estimated $70 million each year.  Imagine the Government having to find that amount. 

Deficits are likely to be with us a little longer than Mr Gutwein says. 

It's not that deficits are necessarily bad.  It's just that the Government refuses to raise revenue and struggles to service its existing $220 million of borrowings.  This means increased borrowings aren't sustainable which further implies deficits aren't sustainable either. 

Each year the Government actually waits, collection plate in hand, to find out how much it has to spend in the next year.  This year the gods were kind.  The GST windfall landed in the plate.

That is a somewhat cynical take by John Lawrence on the Treasurer's promise of a surplus.
No-one can quibble with the infrastructure element of this Budget, especially if they live in the northern part of Tasmania.  In his introduction, the Treasurer stated that governments do not create jobs; individuals and businesses do that.  Except, of course, when governments spend on infrastructure.  A $1.8 billion spend over the next four years will indeed create jobs, as will the Northern Cities Major Development Initiative starting next financial year.  I will be talking about an initiative I hope to put forward in my special interest speech today.  It may help small business and operators in their field of endeavour. 

We have not heard much from the Office of the Coordinator-General but the allocation of $2.8 million extra is a vote of confidence in what may be future achievements. 

We will be initiating preliminary work on the Devonport Living City Project, and the Launceston UTAS campus move, and strengthening the university's vital presence in Burnie - all job-creating projects.
Improvement of Tasmania's rail freight capabilities is to be applauded as is the federal move to extend the Freight Equalisation Scheme to international exports.  However there is still a major concern about shipping costs at Melbourne.  I heard on the news this morning, the Minister for Infrastructure, Rene Hidding, spoke in Parliament yesterday about working on something with the Melbourne port authority to lessen the charges we were warned about.  At least there are ongoing negotiations and the Minister for Infrastructure has his finger on the pulse.  Let us hope he is successful beyond his wildest dreams. 

Infrastructure spending was the element picked up by the Financial Review.  The headline on Friday was 'Tasmania promotes infrastructure for jobs'.  It quotes our own Saul Eslake.  He said the Hodgman government had been prudent in applying most of the federal windfall - a larger GST share plus $400 million of federal road, rail, hospital and water funds - to the budget bottom line, and sensible in its new spending

The Financial Review also says -

The state is battling a mixed outlook across the regions as the Government settles into its second year in office.  The south is benefiting from the strong public and private investment and the north from business investment but the outlook for the north-west is uncertain.

Bear in mind the lost Caterpillar jobs, and the huge impact on the area. 

Ms Forrest - If you look at the infrastructure spending, take the Royal Hobart Hospital out and there is not much news beyond that in terms of dollars spent.  We need to look beyond the superficial headline, because a lot of it is already being done. 

Mr FINCH - It is good to have headlines.  If there were no headlines, we would be in trouble.
Mr Valentine - And Commonwealth funded.

Mr FINCH - Yes, as well.  I also applaud the allocation of $16 million for tackling family violence.  This is a much publicised national problem without an easy solution.  It is likely to take generations to change the social attitudes behind family violence.  At least the Government is recognising the problem and making an allocation of funding.  There was something else in the news this morning about a Government initiative with respect to family violence.  I caught the tail end of it and there may have been some extra allocation for an office or people to focus on this concern in our community.

Ms Forrest - You are talking about the Federal Government?

Mr FINCH - No, I had more of a sense it was a State Government proposition.  No doubt we will read more of that in the newspapers tomorrow. 

Representing the electorate of Rosevears, with great tourism potential, I can only commend the Budget's commitment to helping the tourism industry.  I have long recognised and championed the industry and tried to get it to the forefront of people's thinking.  Some people take the tourism industry for granted.  Each time you try to discuss its importance, it is always downplayed and put back in its box.  We are now starting to see the work done by tourism operators and tourism people, Tourism Tasmania - the work of the previous government and now this Government appointing the Premier as the Minister for Tourism.  That can only be applauded.  I would love to have a stand-alone tourism minister.  However, I am thrilled that Will Hodgman has appointed himself to that portfolio.  He can grasp what is happening in this very important area for the state.

The other correlation I would draw which Mr Gaffney will recall, although I do not think he made the trip to New Zealand on our tourism investigation - 

Mr Gaffney - The junket, no.

Mr FINCH - I hope Hansard will remove that interjection from the record, for goodness' sake.
Members laughing.

Mr FINCH - The Leader will recall the trip to New Zealand, the many hours of study that we put into the New Zealand circumstance and the tireless work that she undertook.  She will not deny it.  Along with our former member for Launceston, Don Wing.

Dr Goodwin - It was a fantastic trip and we learned a lot from New Zealand.  It was quite a sad trip because they were recovering from the first earthquake.  A few days after we left, Christchurch had that second massive earthquake that they are still recovering from.

Mr FINCH - We were near the cathedral that was the focus of the destruction.  We were next door.  I recall the then member for Launceston, Don Wing, feeling very uneasy the whole time we were there.  He thought earth tremors were still occurring.  He was on the money because we had just left and the earthquake happened.

What I wanted to highlight, Leader, with respect to our trip is that primary industry - agriculture, whatever they call it in New Zealand - and tourism are neck and neck as drivers of the New Zealand economy. 

Mr Hall - That is all they have.  Those two are their key drivers.  They do not have the mineral capacity or anything else we have, so they are more reliant and have been very innovative in both of those, particularly in agriculture.

Mr FINCH - That is the exact example I was talking about.  You cannot give tourism credit. 

Mr Hall - They do the tourism well too.

Mr FINCH - The Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, is the Minister for Tourism.  The Prime Minister recognises the importance of tourism in New Zealand.  Tell me, is tourism important in New Zealand?  Absolutely.  That is the great driver of their economy.  I relate very much the New Zealand experience to what we have here in Tasmania with the ability to attract tourists.

Dr Goodwin - We have drawn very heavily on it.  The Premier is the Minister for Tourism.  We have separated Tourism Tasmania from the bureaucracy which was one of our key recommendations and something that happens in New Zealand as well.  Yes, we have a lot to learn from New Zealand.  We have been learning from them, stealing their ideas.

Mr FINCH - I must go back over that report.  There might be something else I could fetch out.

I do not know whether you heard before, but I was praising the fact that our Premier is the Minister for Tourism.  It is a great move and I am a great supporter of the tourism industry, and I support it wherever I can and talk it up wherever I can.  While the industry is going well, now is the time to build on the strengths of tourism rather than just take it for granted - 'People are coming.  We have set a target, but let us not work too hard.  It will happen.'  Well, it will not happen unless we keep working at it.

I am thrilled with the numbers that we are getting and the fact that the Government has set that target.  They are putting their money where their mouth is and their efforts where their mouths are, and they are looking to make that happen.  Let us be careful that we do not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs by damaging our World Heritage Area.  I talked about this in our  Address-in-Reply to the Premier - and our mining and logging, that we need to be very careful with the balance we have because the goose that lays the golden egg is our wonderful wilderness, the views and the spectacular scenery and the way that we have been able to capture much of that.  We must be very prudent in the way we move forward here.  UNESCO's recent criticism was a wake-up call.

Mr Hall - What was that?

Mr FINCH - The highlighting of the fact that we have to guard what we have here.  We have to investigate.  We have to make sure that we are on the right track.

Mr Hall - Do you support prudent and good, sustainable development in national parks and World Heritage areas?

Mr FINCH - I think like the Minister for State Growth, Matt Groom.  I am very cautious in respect of assessing what propositions might come forward.  They must be dealt with on a case‑by-case basis but we must be very prudent in the way we assess those - nothing gung-ho .  I appreciate the stance the minister is taking because he is looking to explore the opportunities.  I have already spoken about one here, although that is in a national park, not so much in the World Heritage Area.

I support the opportunity to investigate, to see what we might achieve and what might draw people to come and see the magic that is Tasmania and that we are renowned for throughout the world.  Does that answer your question?

Mr Hall - I could contend that there are many more places in the world which have perhaps even more special areas.  Whilst we have pretty areas, many people do not want to put a pack on their back.  If you keep those places shut up, if you do not allow some development in those national parks or World Heritage areas, virtually no-one will see them - about the same quantum of people will see them as now.  Like the President, I have been to many other countries, have been through those areas and they do it very well.  That is why they are streets ahead of us at this stage.

Mr FINCH - Yes.  We are on the same track.  All I am saying is, let us be cautious how we move forward.  I will be interested to watch how those projects unfold.

Mr Hall - I am just being the devil's advocate to keep you on your toes.

Mr FINCH - Thank you very much.  Go back to sleep.  To me, mining and logging will never equal tourism as our major Tasmanian industry.  I will point out something though.  When we had our lunch, Mr President, with the Czech Ambassador recently, I went to Wikipedia to source the latest information on Tasmania.  It was not new; there was some dated information there.  I have already alerted the Leader's office to that, and they are going to have a look.  If we travel and represent Tasmania and we want the latest information, we should be able to go to Wikipedia, which has all the latest information and it helps us to have a better understanding of what the assets and highlights of Tasmania are.

[10.30 a.m.]
One that I was very interested in was the drivers of our economy.  The top one - I am just trying to recall off the top of my head, which makes it a very difficult prospect - was something about minerals.  It was about - and I will paraphrase - manufactured minerals.  Like Nyrstar and Bell Bay aluminium, they are the biggest earners for the economy of Tasmania.  It surprised me that it was manufacturing of minerals which has the top running.  Tourism might come second after that.  The highlight I am making is my salute to the tourism industry and how well it is going at the moment.

Agriculture is another matter entirely and this is recognised through irrigation funding and other funding for the sector.  It is going gangbusters, from what I read and am hearing, from the way people are feeling about that sector.  I note too that the biggest cheese factory in the Southern Hemisphere is in Burnie with that spending of, if my memory serves me correctly, $150 million.

Mr Hall - Sorry, did you say the biggest cheese factory?

Mr FINCH - In the Southern Hemisphere.

Mr Hall - No, not the biggest.  There are many cheese factories which are much bigger.  They are producing specialty lines so in that respect you are correct.  Add the word specialty into your speech and you have it.

Mr FINCH - Would you keep paying attention please?  That was good to hear because as I mentioned earlier, with Burnie in such a parlous state with the loss of confidence in the community through the Caterpillar jobs, that was a boost that came in from the major company.

Mr Hall - Lion Nathan, who own Boag's Brewery.

Mr FINCH - It was simply referred to as Lion in respect to the cheese.  We remember the days of   Milan Vyhnalek who started that cheese operation on the north-west coast.

Mr Hall - We were Lactos suppliers.  I was a shop steward for the suppliers around Deloraine.

Mr FINCH - You had trouble with the union then?  I can imagine that. 

Migration of people skills and capital to Tasmania is important for our economy; that is obvious.  There is a continuing impediment.  I mentioned infrastructure earlier and some aspects of it are not under the Government's direct control.  I refer to reliable power supplies and telecommunications in the regional areas.  They are both vital in attracting people from the mainland to come here to establish businesses, to say, 'Yes, let us go and soak up all this beautiful countryside, the relaxed way of living, the beautiful attractions throughout the state and the peaceful countryside in Tasmania.  Let us move there.'

When they hear stories about power supplies and telecommunications, there are a couple of negative spikes that might go into their thinking.  There are many areas around Tasmania where a combination of wind and rain cause frequent power outages.  We had a severe outage the other week in my electorate and as telecommunications concentrates more and more on fibre optic cables, the ageing copper network in regional areas continues to decay.  The lack of fast broadband in many regional areas is a deterrent for people wanting to come and work in our regions.  It must be reliable, it must be up to speed.

There are many black spots for mobile phone services.  I thought we would have had our act together much better with mobile phones.  I am travelling on the highway now with dropouts all the time.
Mr Valentine - I thought it was people hanging up on you. 

- I admit there is an element of that as well.  I have been sprung.

I remember 14 years ago, I was travelling on the east coast and I needed to carry out some very important negotiations by phone and I thought, well that is okay, I am on my mobile.  There were so many black spots on the east coast where I could not be contacted.  It was Ricky Ponting's manager, Sam Halverson - 

Mr Valentine
- You were speaking to Sam Halverson?

- Sam Halverson wanted to talk with me.  By the time I got around to him he did not want to know about excuses - that we did not have mobile contact on the east coast.  He gave it to me.  I will never forget.  There was steam coming out of his ears on the other end of the phone.  He said, 'Kerry, you must be contactable'.  It was a great lesson.  I then went into private business with my own media company and that resonated with me.  It is advice I give all the time.  For people in business, you must be contactable.  I got a shellacking, I can tell you.  As much as I tried to blame the lack of connectivity for mobile phones on the east coast, working on the mainland he could not understand that.  He just wanted to make contact.
It seems very little has changed on the east coast.  When I investigated I was told, 'It is your area.  We are putting in a bigger footprint on the east coast.  It will be much better'.
Mr Valentine - It's not just the east coast.  When we were travelling back from Scottsdale to Launceston, there was little service.

Ms Rattray
- There is limited service on the top of The Sideling.

Ms Forrest -
The west coast is the same.  You only get it in the towns.

- Yes.  The Leader is throwing me a look now.  I realise some of these problems are not under the direct control of the State Government.  I am highlighting it because it is something the Government must keep an eye on with respect to our growth and development and what we can offer.  For tourism as well, but particularly for younger families with IT and business skills who view Tasmania as a haven they can come to with their young family, to develop their lives.  When they check the services available and how this place functions, the negatives they find might cause them to go somewhere else.  Very little has happened to improve the situation over the years and it still remains a big concern in my electorate.

The Frankford Road in my electorate is inadequate and unsafe for its intended traffic.  The forestry industry is ramping up again with trucks coming up through Birralee and heading into my electorate to get to the chipper at Long Reach.  They come through the Frankford main road.  A potato truck recently turned over on one particular corner.  It was an accident, but there have been 22 accidents in 13 years at the same site, with no change or support for the property owner.  There is a 100 kph on the Frankford main road.  The young driver was doing 140 kph  and fortunately nobody was killed.

Ms Rattray
 - Not in the truck?

- No, this was in a car.  One of the young blokes staggered out of the car and said, 'We nearly made it'.  Doing 140 kph.

I campaigned on the Frankford main road.  I delivered to every house on the Frankford main road in my electorate.  It was hair-raising out there, trying to park the car and get across the road to deliver my pamphlet or have a discussion with a householder.  You are taking your life in your own hands.  The speed the trucks and cars were travelling was mind-boggling .  I spoke to one parent, who said, 'The school bus has to pull up here to collect my child in the morning.  The school bus stops on the other side of the road for the child to come across the road in the afternoon, and we are in fear all the time.'  That occurs for a lot of people on that Frankford Road. 

The feedback I have had from the meetings in Frankford is that the road is just too dangerous.  People are speeding too much and for that particular corner I talked about, their recommendation is that it should be 80 kph in that area. 

Mr Valentine
- So it is the speed, not the condition of the road.

- It is a bit of both.  We have heavy traffic.  It is a main artery from the north‑west, from Devonport.  They come through the Frankford Road , as it is called.  It should be called the Frankford highway and put to a highway standard.  About eight years ago there was a discussion by the previous government of a West Tamar corridor study which would have picked up this Frankford Road business.  It would have shown that the road is being used well above what it is capable of carrying. 

I will try to make this point in other areas but I have already spoken with the Minister for Infrastructure, Rene Hidding, about this circumstance.  In the discussions I have had with him he has responded positively.  He talked about getting the head of the Road Safety Advisory Council, Jim Cox, to come out and look at the circumstance there.  I am highlighting again that this is not a good circumstance for the people who live in the area.  Those people who live along that road are super negative about what the Frankford Road means to their lives.

While I am talking about the roads on the West Tamar, there is that corridor study for the West Tamar which might be revisited, Leader.  I spoke with the mayor, Christina Holmdahl, yesterday, and she believes the West Tamar Highway is the second-busiest road in the state.  Whilst money has been spent on the highway and conditions have improved tremendously, now that I have moved to Deviot I do not use the West Tamar Highway.  I am treated very luxuriantly with this $65 million they have spent on the East Tamar Highway.

Ms Forrest
- For you.

- They must have known I was coming, or going.  The point is, this highway is superb; why would you not use it?  It is safe with the railing in the centre, terrific vision, it is 100 kph.  It is a 30-minute drive for me and it is excellent, whereas if I travelled on the West Tamar Highway, I would be up and down in dips and round, it is narrow - it is all over the show.  There are bumps.  I remember years ago the road up to Bradys Lookout, when we were campaigning.  Christina Holmdahl particularly has been at the forefront of campaigns for better road services.  She arranged to have an appointment with Lara Giddings when she was premier, at Bradys Lookout.  She commented, 'I hope that the ministerial car brings her up the hill so that she gets a sense of what is happening at Bradys Lookout.'

Mr Hall
- That part has been fixed; that part has been reconstructed now.

- Thank you, I had not concluded.  I know the Public Works Committee did a good assessment of it and approved the spending of funds on works at Bradys Lookout, and they were much needed and welcomed - but we have a long way to go.

Mr Hall
- The terrain on the West Tamar will always make it a road with many corners, compared to the East Tamar Highway, which has better alignment as far as the terrain goes.

- Absolutely, but while some areas have been tricked up and fixed up, there are other areas.  I will cite here the entrance to Exeter as you come through Lanena.  I have talked about this before.  Take note of it, if you ever get up there.  Here we have the narrowest of roads.  Two trucks passing, adjacent to each other or going in different directions - it is a wonder their side-vision mirrors are not taken out all the time, there is so little room.  On the left-hand side you have a huge ditch that goes down about 4 or 5 feet at least, and on the other side you have mothers pushing prams who are about a metre from the trucks.  That is the entrance to Exeter.  It runs over probably half a kilometre.  It is bizarre. Bike riders - you are a bike rider, member for Western Tiers - so you would know how dangerous that is, going up through Lanena into Exeter.

Mr Hall
- I give that bit a miss.

- I am taking more time than I intended to - because of the interjections, of course - but I wanted to mention the verges.  The mayor was telling me yesterday that there has been some allocation of effort going into the verges on the West Tamar Highway because of our bike‑riding fraternity who love to ride on the West Tamar.  The verges are being looked at and being increased to better cater for bike riders.

To conclude, I will quote from a letter that came to my office in Launceston, from the Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson:

I write to provide you with information and answers relating to your comments and questions from your response to the Premier's Address in March. 

I note your interest in preventative health and your willingness to be involved in improving the health of Tasmanians.  You will likely be aware that the Liberal Government has a goal to make Tasmania the healthiest population by 2025.  As part of the work in achieving this, I announced earlier this year that a specific committee of the Health Council of Tasmania will map out the way forward for preventative health in Tasmania. 

This committee involves members from the community sector, Tasmanian Medicare Local, the Department of Health and Human Services and the University of Tasmania.  If you wish to make a contribution to the committee or share your thoughts and experiences, I would be pleased to pass these on to the committee for their consideration. 

Thank you for your ongoing interest in public health services.  I will be pleased to provide any further information regarding the Health Council and the Preventative Health Committee.
Members may care to make a submission to that and to highlight to the minister the things we need to be concerned about or where we can help in preventative health to make sure we expend a lot of energy and finances in that area, rather than when it is too late and they are into the hospital system.

Mr Valentine
- I hope the minister waits for the outcomes of the Preventative Health Committee inquiry that is currently happening.  There might be some good information that comes out of that which can be fed into the minister's committee.  I don't think he is talking about the inquiry committee, I think he is talking about a committee the Government has set up.  Is that right?

- Yes, that is right.  It is good you highlighted that because I am sure the Leader will alert the minister to that, to make sure that is taken into account in the summation of the work that this committee is doing and hopefully some good recommendations will come from that committee that the Government is able to use.  That is all I need to say at this stage, Mr President.  I note the budget speech.