Senate debates

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Questions without Notice

Health Care

2:05 pm

Photo of Nigel ScullionNigel Scullion (NT, Country Liberal Party, Minister for Indigenous Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the senator for that very important question, because as a Liberal-National government we have in fact been focusing on a strong economy, which enables us to guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on. Take Medicare, for example. In the last year of the former Labor government, the Commonwealth invested $19.5 billion in Medicare. This year, thanks to our strong economic management, we're able to afford $25 billion in funding to Medicare. Next year it will be $26 billion. By 2021-22 it will be $29 billion. We can afford that because we have the fewest people on welfare in 25 years and more taxpayers contributing to pay for the services that Australians rely on. We've been able to afford to end Labor's freeze on Medicare indexation, because they ran out of money by the end of their term in government and actually had to freeze Medicare. With bulk-billing there are now more Australians seeing their doctor without having to reach for their wallet than at any time since the inception of Medicare.

Take hospital funding. Funding from the Commonwealth for public hospitals has almost doubled under us since the last year of the Labor government—doubled! Since 2012-13, the Commonwealth has invested $13.3 billion in hospitals. Under our fully costed budget figures the Commonwealth will be investing $28.7 billion. Our new national hospitals agreement will also deliver an additional $30.9 billion for each state and territory. This is in stark contrast to those opposite, whose promises are completely unfunded and aren't worth the paper they're written on. The Australian people should never forget the con job Labor attempted at the last election. They promised $57 billion for hospitals but found only $2 billion in their budget figures—shameful! We should keep reminding Australians: don't listen to the rhetoric; compare our records. Without a strong economy, you cannot afford to make any of these investments.

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