Former hospital boss given ultimatum

FORMER Royal Hobart Hospital boss Jane Holden could walk away with a six-figure payout after the state government moved to sack the embattled bureaucrat.

An Integrity Commission report released this week alleges that  Ms Holden and her North-West colleague Gavin Austin improperly awarded Health Department work to family members and associates.

Ms Holden has until tomorrow morning to demonstrate why her employment should not be terminated.

Ms Holden has already been pushed out of her role as acting chief executive of Tasmanian Health Organisation-South overseeing the running of the state's major public hospital.

As a result, Ms Holden reverted to her previous position of head of Southern Tasmanian Area Health Services, despite that body being replaced by THO-South under the health reforms. 

Yesterday  Health Minister Michael Ferguson told Parliament that position had now been formally abolished, leaving Ms Holden out of a job. 

``If Ms Holden is unable to provide reasons to satisfy (THO-South acting CEO Matthew Daly), he will terminate her employment and a payout will be provided in line with her five-year contract, to which she was signed up  by the former Labor-Green government,'' Mr Ferguson said. 

Ms Holden will receive a 24-week payout, plus five weeks in lieu of notice and other entitlements.

Based on her reported annual salary of $346,000, that is more than $190,000 before tax.

Gavin Austin has been suspended from his position as chief executive of THO-North-West on full pay, pending further investigations into allegations of nepotism.

The investigation into Mr Austin, who earns $265,000 a year, is expected to take months.

``While this is a difficult time, I want to assure all Tasmanians that the Liberal government is committed to rebuilding our health system and giving Tasmanians the health care they need and deserve,'' Mr Ferguson said yesterday. 

Jane  Holden has until tomorrow morning to demonstrate why her employment should not be terminated.

Jane Holden has until tomorrow morning to demonstrate why her employment should not be terminated.

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