House debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022


National Health Amendment (General Co-payment) Bill 2022; Second Reading

11:32 am

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

As I noted earlier, these are important issues which go to the heart. And I'll take the second point of order that has been raised, in relation to relevance. I note that the deputy speaker didn't find in favour of the first point of order.

Be that as it may, Australians want to know that their government has their backs. Australians want to know who is in charge and what the government is doing to relieve cost-of-living pressures. This is a question that is directly on point to the minister at the table. This is a bill which the government is putting up as easing cost-of-living pressures on Australians. Between 2013 and 2022, the coalition government made nearly 2,900 new or amended medicine listings to the PBS. In our last year, in the last year of the coalition government alone, 2.2 million free or subsidised medicines were funded through the PBS just in my electorate of Fisher. In our last budget, we invested an historic $132 billion to deliver the essential health and aged-care services Australians need.

Let me say those figures again: in our last budget, $132 billion—an historic amount—compared to the Labor Party's budget of just $75 billion when they were last in government. It was $75 billion in 2012-2013 and now $132 billion. And yet for six years all we heard about from those opposite were cuts to the healthcare system. I'm no mathematician, but it was $75 billion in 2012-20 $13 to $132 billion in our last budget and yet those opposite consider that to be a cut.

Despite what Labor may tell you, we strengthened Medicare and revolutionised health treatment with our telehealth system. We committed $133 billion over four years to continue bolstering our Medicare system, a jewel in the crown of Australia's world-leading health and social care infrastructure. On that, I think we all agree—that the Medicare system in Australia is probably the best in the world. Australians demand, rightly, an effective healthcare system, and the coalition has always been absolutely committed to delivering on that. In government we delivered a 133.69 per cent increase in funding for public hospitals in Queensland. That's record funding to a hospital system that Queensland Labor, which is my state, continue to mismanage. After nearly a decade of reform, record-breaking investment and action, the coalition has set the standard for health care in this country.

But what's the real cost of living in Queensland? We talk about the cost of living in this place and we talk about health care. Australians are already tuning out this government because they know that federal Labor isn't listening to them. They know that after just six months in power this Labor government is hopelessly out of touch.

On 4 April this year the now Prime Minister, in the lead up to the election, announced to the Australian people that he would govern in the style of the Queensland state Labor. As I say that, around about 4½ million to five million people in Australia—namely, Queenslanders—are rolling around on the floor laughing. The Prime Minister said:

But I've also seen what Premier Palaszczuk has presided over as a bit of a template for the way forward for Federal Labor let way forward for federal Labor.

Let me tell you, Mr Deputy Speaker Goodenough, Queenslanders are shuddering with this news.

Let's take a look at the cost of living in Queensland under a Labor state government. Roads are congested because of Labor's inaction. A drive down Caloundra Road in my electorate will demonstrate that the state members for Caloundra and Nicklin are not listening. Rail projects are overbudget. Cross River Rail is overbudget and late. The North Coast Rail duplication has been delayed by the state Labor government. The state Labor government take the Sunshine Coast for granted, like they do the state over. In fact, both the federal and state Labor parties are choosing red carpets and photo-ops over looking after people.

What has Labor done from a healthcare perspective in Queensland? Ambulance ramping is at levels that are unprecedented. Paramedics and patients were ramped for nearly 123,757 hours last financial year. In the 2021-22 financial year Queensland paramedics and their patients were being ramped for more than 357 hours every single day. Hospitals are overwhelmed, and our hardworking nurses, doctors and frontline staff are struggling to keep up. Maternity wards in regional Queensland have been shut down, and mums-to-be are being handed do-it-yourself birthing kits in regional Queensland. This is a disgrace. The integrity of Queensland's DNA labs is now subject to an historic commission of inquiry.

Bullying, secrecy, cover-ups, photo-ops, name changes and political games cannot mask the frightening truth. The fact is in Queensland the cost of living comes from the risk of financial and physical peril. From Cairns to Caloundra to Coolangatta, Queenslanders have seen the cost of Labor in government. This is federal Labor's blueprint for government. This is their template. It's their goal, and that should alarm every single Australian.

Every young couple in regional Australia who may one day want to start and raise their family beyond the big city should be very, very worried. Every senior Australian who relies on public health care should be worried. If the Prime Minister is looking to Queensland Labor as the best practice on how to manage health care, we are doomed. (Time expired)


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