Phone bill review request

Jane Holden
Jane Holden

FORMER Tasmanian Health Organisation-South boss Jane Holden has requested to review a $21,604 telephone tab she accrued over 24 months.

Figures released in Parliament this week revealed Ms Holden racked up $900 monthly phone bills in the two years to June this year.

Included in the taxpayer-funded accounts were Ms Holden’s mobile and home phones and home internet service.

Ms Holden’s bill was three times as much as her North and North-West counterparts combined.

The Health and Community Services Union said the amount was extraordinary, calling for the legitimacy of the calls to be scrutinised.

Ms Holden said while she had outlined what the telephone bills related to, she did not defend them.

The former THO-South chief executive said she had not seen the accounts and wished to review the charges.

‘‘As with the previously well-publicised accounts, if there are costs that are not legitimate work-related costs I will fund these personally,’’ Ms Holden said.

In 2012, Ms Holden ran up a $60,000 phone bill while overseas.

Telstra and the state government later reached an agreement over the account, and it is understood Ms Holden was not made to pay.

Also released in Parliament on Tuesday were $21,719 of travel and accommodation expenses the Health Department paid for Ms Holden.

The charges were significantly higher than those racked up by heads of the state’s two other regional health organisations.

But Ms Holden said it was unreasonable to compare the costs.

‘‘Neither the CEO from the North or North-West were relocated during that 24-month period nor were asked to travel from the North-West (my home) to work in Hobart,’’ she said.

The government confirmed it had received Ms Holden’s request to review the phone bills.

A spokesman said the department would respond accordingly.