House debates

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions without Notice


2:38 pm

Photo of Gavin PearceGavin Pearce (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's stable and certain budget and economic management are helping to guarantee critical funding for our hospitals?

2:39 pm

Photo of Greg HuntGreg Hunt (Flinders, Liberal Party, Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Braddon, who has been a great advocate for better funding for hospitals and also for drug and alcohol services, including the $6 million for the City Mission residential rehab service for drug and alcohol in Tasmania. In particular, though, he's also advocated for the $20 million for elective surgery, which we have now brought forward in conjunction with the Tasmanian government. The member for Braddon, the member for Bass, coalition senators from Tasmania, the Tasmanian Premier and the Tasmanian health minister have all asked if we could bring forward this funding, and we've done that. What that means is that there will be 6,000 additional elective surgeries in Tasmania over the course of the coming year as a consequence of the ability to manage the budget, to therefore support those additional services and to therefore support Tasmanian patients. But these are only things you can do if you have a strong economy. If, by creating trade arrangements, you create additional trade, therefore you create jobs, and therefore you create more income for the country and fewer people who are dependent on welfare.

What that means for Tasmania is that we are going from an inherited Commonwealth payment in the year before we came to government of $294 million, to this year $424 million and, by the end of the new health reform agreement, $524 million a year. That's a massive increase, which you can only do when you have a strong economy. But that increase is being played out around the country, where we are adding an extra $31 billion over the course of the next five-year agreement, and I am delighted to affirm that all states and territories have now signed the heads of agreement.

Victoria and Queensland have recently signed that heads of agreement, which I think is a breakthrough and which will be welcomed, no doubt, by all sides of this parliament. Very significantly, what that means is that, in terms of our hospital funding, we are going from the $13 billion that we inherited to almost $23 billion, $24 billion, $25 billion and $26 billion over each of the years of the forward estimates. We're able to do that because strong fiscal management and strong microeconomic reform create the circumstances where there's confidence for businesses to invest and create jobs. The government then receives the revenue. It has less to pay out because more people are working and, therefore, we're able to invest that money in more hospital services. These things come together. It's also allowed us to invest $80 million in the Peter MacCallum national centre for cellular immunotherapy. One of the things I am most pleased about is $100 million for the Sydney Comprehensive Children's Cancer Centre.