Thursday, 13 February 2020
Statements by Members
Queensland: Health Care
The nation is now watching what is the weeping sore of Queensland Health, and that is Redland Hospital. I don't think we've ever seen a Labor health minister so egregiously drain a hospital service of resources, but that's exactly what's happening on the south side of Brisbane, where an extraordinary $39 million was leached from the Metro South Health hospital budget over the 2017-18 financial year. You'd think, having been caught out in August of the year before last by me, they might have eased off a little. The pedal did come off the floor slightly, but they took another $17 million, which, over two years, amounts to—yes, wait for this—Labor leaching $1 million every fortnight out of the hospital service. How can you possibly run a hospital service with money seeping out of the budget like that? Let's be honest about this: it's the Commonwealth contributions, increasing from $83 million to $96 million in those two years, that pays the nurses, keeps the lights on and actually makes sure that we've got a hospital service at all. You've got a free-riding state government that's draining not just our area but Wide Bay and Central Queensland. They took $10 million out of children's health services.
I'm standing here today, though, because, added together, $39 million came out of my hospital services and only $22 million came out of other, selected parts of Queensland. The excuses are appalling. I've met with the most senior economists from Queensland Health in the minister's office to hear him respectfully say that it's all about taking from Peter to pay Paul and the delayed payments from the Commonwealth. The delayed payments from the Commonwealth don't amount to even a fraction of what's being ripped out of Redlands Hospital. Let's be serious about this: this hospital can't cope as long as you're draining it like this; this hospital can't survive as long as you won't build a car park; this hospital can't serve as long as one denies it an MRI. It's all Queensland Health.
Why do they attack my area? Let me give you a tiny hint: when $39 million vanished in 2017-18, $40 million appeared in Metro North, the Labor state health minister's area. We're seeing a transfusion across the bridges, basically artificially supporting Brisbane north, which simply doesn't have the activity. How do I know that? Commonwealth payments are based on activity. That tells us how much work's being done in each of these hospitals. I've got the busiest area in Queensland and I'm seeing the money being sucked across for political purposes.
Of course, no budgets will be released. They sit on those; they hide them. They won't tell you how much money comes out each of my Metro South Health hospitals. Obviously, I care about Redlands. I have to assume it's all coming from Redlands until it's proven otherwise. It's not that hard to release a budget. After squeezing Don Brown like a wet handkerchief, we finally got the staffing budget, and guess what's happening? It's going up. What we know is that the ripping off is happening from the non-staffing budget. Please release the non-staffing budget—no luck at all. These guys are politically gimped. We have chased them at every corner of Metro South Health to get an answer. This is Labor doing their political trickery and moving their infrastructure where it suits their marginal seats, and I will make sure we get an answer if it's the one thing I do.