Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King says the Abbott Government has launched an unprecedented attack on local hospitals and our universal health care system.
“Tony Abbott’s savage cuts will remove more than $24 million from Ballarat Health Services budget over the next four years – crippling local hospital services through increased waiting times, reductions in hospital beds and a loss of services,” Ms King said.
“The Victorian Health Minister has said these changes are likely to amount to ‘hundreds of millions and likely billions’ of dollars being cut from Victorian hospitals.
“The Liberals have never believed in Medicare and are determined to destroy our universal healthcare system with a new $7 GP Tax, Hospital Tax, increased costs for medicines and massive cuts to funding for local hospitals and health services.
“Before the election Tony Abbott promised no cuts to health and no new taxes. He is breaking that promise with cuts to local hospitals and a new GP Tax that will cost Ballarat families over $5 million in out of pocket costs to visit the doctor next year alone.
“Australian families will pay more for medicines with the cost rising $5 per medicine for general patients and $0.80 and for concessional patients and the Safety Nets becoming harder to reach.
“Medicare Locals have been axed, putting at risk the jobs of 38 frontline health workers that deliver responsive primary health care locally when it’s needed. There is no guarantee the government’s rebadged Primary Health Network will continue their important work or even be in Ballarat.
“In our community these cuts will affect important frontline health services delivered by the Grampians Medicare Local, including, after hours GP services, health, allied health, mental health, immunisation and diabetes education.
“Tony Abbott has betrayed Ballarat families through a series of broken promises and cruel cuts to local health services that will punish local families already struggling to make ends meet.
“These short-sighted decisions will leave Australia with a two-tiered health system and deny those that can’t afford it access to a doctor and the services they need to stay healthy.
“Labor will continue to fight any attempt by this government to dismantle Medicare in Australia.”