FORMER Tasmanian Health Organisation-South chief executive Jane Holden racked up a $21,604 telephone bill in the 24 months to June this year, according to figures released in Parliament yesterday.
The taxpayer-funded tab was three times as much as Ms Holden’s North and North-West counterparts combined.
Included in the $900 monthly bills were Ms Holden’s mobile and home phones and home internet service.
In a statement, Ms Holden said the costs spanned a period she was travelling frequently between the North-West and South of the state.
Ms Holden said constant travel made phone usage necessary, and that the telephone bills included data.
But Health and Community Services Union state secretary Tim Jacobson said the publicly paid account was ‘‘extraordinary’’.
‘‘Twenty-one thousand dollars in phone calls ... to where and for what purpose?’’ Mr Jacobson said.
‘‘We as taxpayers are left to foot this bill and we deserve the legitimacy of those calls to be scrutinised.’’
It is not the first time Ms Holden’s telephone bills have been brought before Parliament.
In 2012, Ms Holden ran up a $60,000 phone bill while overseas.
Yesterday’s figures also revealed the Health Department paid more than $11,209 for work-related travel expenses for Ms Holden in the two years to June 2014.
Ms Holden said the costs were linked to approved interstate meetings and regular travel between Burnie and Hobart.
Her travel expenses easily outstripped those incurred by heads of the state’s other regional health organisations.
From January 2012, the DHHS spent $10,510 on accommodation for Ms Holden.
The bill was far lower than the $30,507 in hotel bills she had accrued in the 17 months up to that point, but still significantly more than the other THO bosses.
Ms Holden was pushed out of her role as head of THO-South in May.
The former Royal Hobart Hospital boss was later sacked, with Health Minister Michael Ferguson saying no suitable alternative positions could be found for her in the organisation.
Ms Holden said her sacking was orchestrated around a ‘‘sensationalised’’ Integrity Commission report accusing her of unfairly awarding jobs to friends and family.
Mr Ferguson denied the suggested link, and Ms Holden vowed to defend her name.