Failed former Health Minister
Michael Ferguson’s well documented refusal to listen to experts in the health
and hospital system cannot be allowed to carry over now that he is responsible
for the imposition of an unfair taxi subsidy cap for Tasmanians living with
As new Transport Minister, Mr
Ferguson must immediately consult with the disability sector, listen to serious
concerns and reverse the Minority Hodgman Liberal Government’s decision to
impose a cap of $1,000 a year for taxi subsidies from this week.
Deputy Labor Leader Michelle
O’Byrne said the imposition of the cap was unfair and would have wide-ranging
consequences for Tasmanians living with disabilities, particularly considering
it would reduce significantly next year to $350 for the following three years.
“The $1,000 cap commenced on July 1
and since the former Minister responsible Jeremy Rockliff refused to listen to
serious community concerns, Michael Ferguson must now show if he is prepared to
listen,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“Given that he proved himself
absolutely incapable of listening or consulting during five disastrous years at
the helm of the health and hospital system, there are serious concerns in the
disabilities community that they will not be heard on just how unfair this subsidy
“There are about 1,400 Tasmanian
NDIS participants who are affected by this and it will affect their ability to
get to medical appointments or just take part in their community activities.
“Profoundly disabled Tasmanians
will very quickly reach the full $1,000 entitlement the Liberals have imposed
upon them and then simply not be able to afford transport.
“Labor joins with Disability
Advocate Jane Wardlaw who has been calling on the government to extend the
former subsidy system until 2021 and scrap the cap.
“The cap will have an extremely
negative effect on many Tasmanians who are already marginalised and Mr Ferguson
should not be attempting to isolate those people any further.
“It is imperative that he does not repeat the well documented arrogance that was the hallmark of his tenure as Health Minister and, as Transport Minister, tries to turn over a new leaf and listen.”
Michelle O’Byrne MP
Deputy Labor Leader