Tasmanian Human Services Minister denies political interference allegation

Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma
Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma

Labor has continued to press Human Services Minister on an email sent from the Children’s Commissioner to a media outlet for another Question Time in an attempt to expose a perceived interference between the two offices. 

Opposition Leader Rebecca White accused Ms Petrusma of concocting the story to hide the fact that a member from her office interfered with the functions of a statutory officer.

Ms Petrusma brushed off the barrage of questions, naming them “silly”. 

“This is just silly school-girl antics,” she said.

​“The only one who’s concocting a story is the Opposition.”

When asked whether her office received any draft releases from the Children’s Commissioner’s office, Ms Petrusma said it was common place for third parties to release media releases to the department if it related to that department. 

Meanwhile, Greens leader Cassy O’Connor raised concerns over the ban on fish farming in 99 per cent of the Mercury Passage and asked whether Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff was really in control of the state’s salmon industry. 

Mr Rockliff labelled the claims “ridiculous” and said the government had strengthened regulations. 

Ms O’Connor said that the Okehampton Bay development had ignored community views, whether communities would be able to have a say in future planning, and if the public had been properly consulted. 

She expressed further concerns that the community would not be consulted on the government’s Sustainable Industry Growth Plan. 

A question from the government’s benches addressed redevelopments at the Royal Hobart Hospital. 

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said work had now started on the new K-Block at the hospital with the foundations being laid.

Mr Ferguson said that up until April this year, more than $110 million in tenders had been awarded for hospital redevelopments.