Monday, 14 July 2014
Questions without Notice
My question is to the health minister. Minister, another aspect of the government's miserable budget is an investigation into the sell-off of Australian Hearing. This greatly concerns the clients of the Australian government Hearing Services Program—for example, the hundreds of deaf and hearing-impaired children in Tasmania. Minister, what reassurance can you give those people that there will be no sell-off or, if there is, that there will be no adverse effect on the delivery, scope and cost of services?
I thank very much the member for Denison for his question. As he points out, the government has announced a feasibility study in relation to Australian Hearing Services, because I want to make sure that we are getting money away from bureaucratic services and back to front-line services including and, in particular, in hearing, as the honourable member refers to.
The honourable member makes mention of the budget. In this budget we increase spending in health in each of the years in the forward estimates. We increase health spending and hospital spending. Hospital spending goes up by nine per cent next year, the year after and the year after that, and then 6½ per cent in the year after that. We have provided a lot of support to front-line services in this budget and we are very proud of it.
The Labor Party presided over this great mushrooming of bureaucracies within the Health portfolio over the course of their six years. We want to make sure that we can get money back to doctors and nurses and deliverers of health services so that we can get more patients seen. That is the desire of this government and that is what we achieve.
Ms King interjecting—
Mr Bowen interjecting—
The member for Denison was able to broker an arrangement with former Prime Minister Gillard in relation to a hospital within Tasmania. Unfortunately, much of that money was spent and the hospital was never built. That is the difficulty that Labor presided over. They spent enormous amounts of money away from front-line services. The contrast could not be starker and we will provide additional services to the Australia public because we will not waste money on great big new Labor bureaucracies.