Mercury (Hobart)

I HIT THE WALL

PREMIER TAKES STEP BACK AFTER HEALTH SCARE

- AMBER WILSON

PREMIER Peter Gutwein has candidly admitted he has been working too hard and needs to pull back.

Mr Gutwein was admitted to hospital last week for tests after feeling unwell, sparking speculatio­n about his immediate future. He returned to work yesterday and admitted he was burnt out. “I’d worked 46 days straight … my body is not a machine, I hit the wall and I was quite unwell. I just had to stop,” he said.

Mr Gutwein said he had been cleared of any health issues and would drop two of his ministeria­l portfolios to ease his workload.

My body is not a machine ... I was just quite unwell. I had to stop.

PREMIER Peter Gutwein will drop two of his ministeria­l portfolios in the wake of a health scare that precipitat­ed a battery of tests in hospital.

Mr Gutwein returned to duties on Sunday after falling ill at work six days earlier, with the reassuranc­e that what he had suffered was a simple case of burnout.

“It’s important to listen to your body and I wasn’t,” he said. “I’d worked 46 days straight, which culminated in the finalisati­on and delivery of the budget. My body is not a machine, I hit the wall and I was quite unwell.

“I just had to stop.” Mr Gutwein said he had undergone a series of tests and had been given a “clean bill of health”.

He said for at least the next 12 months, he would realign his responsibi­lities to ensure he could focus on the pathway out of the pandemic and the state’s economic rebuild.

The Premier will maintain overall responsibi­lity for the Covid response, and will retain the Treasury portfolio.

However, he will transfer climate change to Roger Jaensch, who already has carriage of the environmen­t portfolio, and tourism to Sarah Courtney, the Hospitalit­y and Events Minister.

The portfolio changes will start after this week’s estimates hearings conclude.

“Moving forward, the events of the past week have sent me a clear message that I am not a machine and I need a better balance in my responsibi­lities as we move forward,” Mr Gutwein said.

“It really was as simple as me getting to a point where I was just fatigued.

“These changes will provide a really good synergy with the current portfolio alignments that these ministers have.”

He thanked his team, and Acting Premier Jeremy Rockliff, for their work in his absence over the past week.

“You have no idea how difficult that was for me to be a bystander and observer as my eighth budget was debated in parliament,” he said.

Cassy O’Connor said the Greens were glad to hear the Premier had recovered from his health scare but were disappoint­ed the climate change portfolio would no longer be held by the Premier.

Mr Gutwein, 56, was elevated to the position of Premier in January 2020 following the resignatio­n of Will Hodgman.

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