Monday, 22 October 2018
Queensland: Health Care
It's interesting that the topic I'm speaking on tonight is health as well, but I'm going to talk about health in Queensland. There is only one government in Queensland that's cutting health funding, and that's the state Labor government. I want to talk about the great work we're doing for Queensland in the health space and in my electorate of Forde, but also to highlight for the House what the state government in Queensland is doing to rip money out of the health system.
Our government has increased public hospital funding to the Metro South hospital network in my electorate of some $83.4 million, but, in that time, the Queensland Labor government has hit Metro South, cutting $39 million of state funding last year. Once again, we see the state Labor government pointing fingers and passing blame but not actually taking any responsibility for their actions.
This comes just a month or so after Queensland health minister Steven Miles's and the state government's $500,000 plan to rename the Lady Cilento to Queensland Children's Hospital, while, at the same time, interestingly, stripping funds from children's health. They are prioritising the rebrand while slashing more than $10 million from Queensland Children's Hospital, which treats some of the sickest children in Queensland. It is just another example of the shortcomings of Labor in government. The health minister's funding woes—in fairness to him—are the products of his Labor government's disastrous mismanagement. From the swingeing cuts to our local hospitals, it is clear that state Labor does not have the health needs of the people in my electorate of Forde at heart.
Funding data released last week by the independent National Health Funding Body shows the state Labor government cut a total of $49.6 million out of public health spending between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years. The result is that federal funding, which is allocated based on treatments provided to patients, increased for every service in the state, but state government funding was reduced for six services across the state.
The impact of these cuts is already being felt in my community of Forde, sadly, by those on the lowest incomes, by parents supporting sick children and by new mothers and babies. The most vulnerable members of our society, those who are most in need of our support, are being short-changed. Local services, which are there to keep our children well and out of hospital, are being slashed at every opportunity across the state. The Queensland government has scrapped funding, putting unnecessary financial stress on our local hospitals, which are trying to do their best every day to deliver life-saving care for our communities.
In that regard, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work done by the nurses, the doctors, the administrators, the volunteers and all the auxiliary staff in our hospitals for delivering those services, each and every day, to the best of their ability. But what I can say is that this government is committed to funding public hospitals. The government has offered a new five-year funding agreement, which will deliver $130.2 billion in Commonwealth hospital funding, including $30.2 billion in funding across Australia, delivering millions of dollars of additional hospital services to patients right across the country.
I urge the Queensland Labor government to sign our agreement, which will deliver an additional $7. 4 billion to public hospitals across the state. Understandably, parents whose children are suffering most are disappointed to see the cuts in hospital funding from a state Labor government and the increased cost to patients. Labor's actions are an alarm bell for the future of the financial health of hospitals, and for families across Australia who rely on a strong health system. I urge the Queensland health minister and the government to start prioritising the health of children across Queensland, instead of pouring money down the sink of a hospital rebrand. But I commend this government on the hard work we're doing to ensure we continue to fund a strong and sustainable healthcare system for all Australians.