House debates

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Matters of Public Importance

Health and Education Funding

4:00 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, it did go very well, thank you very much. It went very well because I knew all that was included in the green paper. I knew every word in that green paper, I knew what it stood for and I knew that I would be responsible for delivering the promises that were made in the green paper and white paper process.

What we have is state governments around the country alarmed, beside themselves, about the cuts that have already been made. I just love it when those opposite talk about these cuts as also apparently being hypothetical. It says in their budget overview, 'These measures will achieve cumulative savings of over $80 billion by 2024-25.' That is pretty hypothetical too, isn't it?

State governments are beside themselves. The New South Wales Treasurer says that these cuts are unsustainable. State treasurers around the country are trying to work out how they are going to fill these enormous black holes. In fact, it is not just Labor who calls these 'enormous black holes' in the health and education system. The AMA called this a 'gaping hole' in hospital funding. What we have seen is the largest cuts to the forward health budget of any government. We have seen $50 billion cut in the first budget, up to $57 billion in the following budget and another $3 billion cut from other health programs. That is a $60 billion cut from the health budget. That means that hospitals will not be able to meet their targets for emergency waiting times and elective surgery waiting times. So what does the government do in response to that? They dump the targets. They do not increase the funding, they do not increase the support; they actually dump the targets so that hospitals will no longer be held to account for treating patients properly. We see a growth in hospital funding that will be halved over the next decade, from a growth rate of 3.6 per cent to a growth rate of 1.7 per cent over the next decade. The AMA's most recent report card says that hospitals are not keeping pace with population growth and demand, and this green paper suggestion will just be the final nail in the coffin.


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