Opportunity Missed: Health is Just a Headline for Libs Sat 21 July 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health The Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne, today said the State Opposition had missed a key opportunity to put a health policy with substance before the Tasmanian public. Ms O'Byrne said that instead, the Liberals had again offered up nothing but slick marketing slogans and glib motherhood statements. "The Liberals have provided no substance. "They have failed to give any information as to how they would fund their policy - and have certainly failed to detail just how many positions they would axe to achieve their objectives. "Given the Liberal Party has spent the past 12 months opposing every single decision and every single strategy put in place by the State Government to create a more effective and more sustainable health system, this is particularly surprising." Ms O'Byrne said she welcome the Liberals' recognition of the role preventative health played in reducing demands on the health system, but said it had no credibility given the Liberals refused to say no to donations from tobacco companies. "Here was an opportunity for Will Hodgman to make a clear stand - to stand up and show that the Liberals were serious about preventative health and that they would no longer accept tens of thousands of dollars in profits from the sale of products that kill hundreds of Tasmanians every year and costs our health system severely. "But they couldn't do it. They are too weak. "They have never outlined a policy to cut smoking rates in Tasmania, and they have again failed to take an opportunity to do so." "The Liberal Party talks about preventative health but they were silent when we announced A Healthy Tasmania, our preventative health strategy. "They want to reduce demand on our hospitals but attacked the Federal funding package of $325 million because it focused too much on reducing demand on our hospitals. Mr Rockliff continues to fall short when it comes to understanding the complexities of modern health care. "The Liberal Party has not been able to stack up how they would fund this $76 million elective surgery investment and they clearly don't understand how to invest in health. "Mr Rockliff has taken out a calculator and divided $76 million by $5000 to get his 15,000 procedures - a ridiculous simplification. "Then he spends the money again by saying not only will it pay for 15,000 operations, it will also open beds and operating theatres." Ms O'Byrne said stating a goal was not the same thing as achieving it. "Saying you will deliver a sustainable health system is easy, delivering a sustainable health system is hard - and on the basis of the Liberals' policy, only the State Government is prepared to take the hard decisions. "We are delivering a sustainable health system and the Liberal Party have fought against it every step of the way. "Unfortunately, for the Liberal Party, health is just a headline."