Dr Jonathan Coleman MP
National Party Associate Health Spokesman (Mental Health)
22 September 2006
Lake Alice deal: Hodgson must explain
The Minister of Health needs to come clean and explain to the public exactly how the Government reached a decision to withhold money awarded to second-round claimants in the Lake Alice case, says National Party Associate Health spokesman responsible for mental health, Dr Jonathan Coleman.
"It is unacceptable if there was a Government decision made behind closed doors to hold back money from the claimants,” says Dr Coleman.
Judge Tom Broadmore has criticised the Government’s ‘political’decision to secretly withhold 30% of the compensation payments from former Lake Alice patients to cover non-existent ‘legal fees’.
“Why was this deal kept secret? The recent judgment awarding a further $35,000 that was found to have been withheld from final payment to a former patient has major implications for the 87 other second-round claimants.
“It was purely by chance that claimant Paul Zentveld found out the Government had decided to keep $35,000 of the money that Sir Rodney Gallen had decided he was due.
"The Government needs to be upfront about how the decision was reached, apologise to the claimants, and stop dragging the chain in paying them the $3 million that is rightfully theirs.
"Minister Hodgson needs to front up on this."