Hospital taskforce on $3000 a day

Premier Will Hodgman defends the cost of the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment taskforce.
Premier Will Hodgman defends the cost of the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment taskforce.

THE state government has defended paying members of the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment taskforce up to $3000 a day, describing it as "worth every cent".

Heavily censored Right to Information documents released in Parliament yesterday revealed the chairman of the committee, former Department of Health and Human Services secretary John Ramsay, has a contract worth $165,000 to work three days a week for about six months.

Mr Ramsay has been taking in a fee of $2200 a day, and other taskforce members have been paid almost $3000 a day.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson announced in May that he would delay the troubled $365 million redevelopment by six months, during which time the taskforce would review the project.

Mr Ferguson told Parliament yesterday that the taskforce had done a "sterling job" and had already identified $2 million in savings.

"This is already significantly more than the total expected cost of the taskforce administration," Mr Ferguson said.

The opposition criticised the government for the lack of information given out on the work of the taskforce, and said the document it received under RTI was heavily censored, but showed the government was spending like "drunken sailors".

But Mr Ferguson said the RTI document was was independently prepared, and was not a decision of the government.

Labor health spokeswoman Rebecca White said the government had not updated Parliament on the redevelopment of the hospital.

"It's hard to tell if we're getting value for money when we haven't seen any work the taskforce has done to date," Ms White said.

"We think it is in the public interest of the people of Tasmania be told about the work of the taskforce," she said.

Premier Will Hodgman said he "didn't hear Labor and the Greens complain" when former federal police commissioner Mick Palmer was engaged to look into the state's prison at a cost of $2500 a day.

"This is a market rate that was struck to ensure we get the right people, experts, to assist government," Mr Hodgman said.

The Liberals have said the RHH redevelopment was facing a budget overrun of up $70 million and a potential delay of two years under the former government.


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