Third anniversary of Hodgman government looms over question time

On the third anniversary of the Hodgman government, debate in Question Time once again revolved around sewerage and child protection.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green opened proceedings by reiterating TasWater chairman Miles Hampton’s disparaging comments regarding the government’s takeover of the council-owned business.

Mr Hampton said yesterday that the government’s intervention would end up costing more than if TasWater were to continue operating independent of the state government.

“Do you agree with Mr Hampton that you are stretching the truth?" Mr Green asked Treasurer Peter Gutwein.

In response, Mr Gutwein said the the state was being forced to endure “unacceptable outcomes” in regard to water and sewerage infrastructure.

“The EPA have said that, the Economic Regulator has said that," Mr Gutwein said.

The Treasurer said that Mr Hampton had prevented council-owners from investing more in infrastructure.

Mr Green presented two statutory declarations to the House: one signed by Mr Hampton, and the other by TasWater chief executive Michael Brewster.

In the declarations, it was noted that the government did not provide funding for TasWater’s 10-year infrastructure plan.

While money was stumped up for tanks, TasWater did not believe this was an acceptable solution to the problems they faced.

Opposition local government spokeswoman Madeleine Ogilvie said the Hobart City Council had voted against the move, which she claimed was an indication that the plan was “hopelessly doomed for failure”.

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor continued her attack on Resources Minister Guy Barnett’s contentious forest policy, which proposed to open up 356,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest to logging.

She cited the Forest Industry Association of Tasmania’s condemnation of the policy.

“Will you now admit there is no sound basis for logging this forest?” Ms O’Connor asked Mr Barnett.

The Minister said the government’s forest policy was in the best interests of the Tasmanian people.

“We are doing what's right for Tasmanians, we're saving jobs, we're growing the industry,” Mr Barnett said.

Ms O’Connor did not hold back in her rejoinder.

“You are such a goose,” she told Mr Barnett.

“You’re the biggest goose in this place.”

Meanwhile, Opposition health spokeswoman Rebecca White interrogated Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma on her handling of problems around child protection.

Ms White said a child protection provider was advertising children for foster care on a buy-and-sell website, alongside secondhand furniture and bric-a-brac.

Ms Petrusma said she would not be able to give an answer to the House  until she had properly investigated the matter.

“But I will do so as soon as possible,” she said.

Children’s services provider Key Assets confirmed they were contacted by the department last Wednesday, despite the Minister saying that the investigation into them started in January.

Provider advertising foster children on a Facebook buy and sell website (four children), alongside secondhand furniture and bricabrac.

Petrusma said she would not be able to provide a response to the question until she had investigated the matter and had the facts available.

Key Assets confirmed they were contacted by the department last Wednesday, despite the Minister saying that the investigation into them started in January.

The provider has been accused of offering squalid housing.

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