The Minister for Health has once again refused to acknowledge the Abbott Government’s $80 billion in cruel cuts to hospitals in schools.
In a shameful display of political acrobatics, the Minister for Health has dodged, ducked and weaved when asked about funding cuts to hospitals across Australia.
During consideration in detail of budget appropriations in the health portfolio Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King asked the Health Minister on numerous occasions to explain his cruel cuts to hospitals.
Ms KING: I refer particularly to the budget overview document that states that indexation arrangements for schools from 2018, and for hospitals from 2017-18, and removing funding guarantees for public hospitals, will achieve cumulative savings of over $80 billion by 2024-25. I want to ask whether the minister can confirm what component of that $80 billion of cumulative savings relates directly to public hospitals. Is it the $55 billion as stated by the Secretary of the Department of Health at Senate estimates on 2 June?
Ms KING: I refer the minister to an appearance on Q&A on 21 February 2013 when Tony Jones asked him, ‘Can you guarantee to spend the same amount that Labor is projecting it will spend on health?’ The minister at that stage said, ‘Yes, yes, I can guarantee that.’
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2014-2015, Consideration in Detail – HANSARD (EXTRACT) – 17 June 2014
Minister Dutton refused time and time again to acknowledge the $80 billion cut and the serious impact it will have on our nation’s health system. These cuts will increase emergency department waiting times, increase elective surgery waiting times, and reduce the number of hospital beds across Australia.
Before the election Mr Abbott promised ‘no cuts to health’ ‘no cuts to education’ ‘no change to pensions’ and no ‘new taxes.’
Despite his own budget papers showing an $80 billion cut to health and education, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton continue to maintain there are no cuts to health and education.
Even the New South Wales Liberal Government, in their Budget handed down on Tuesday, outline the reality of Tony Abbott’s harsh cuts to Australia’s health system.
The NSW Liberals’ Budget confirm that the ‘Commonwealth contribution to NSW health spending is expected to halve’ and that ‘National Health Reform Agreement funding to New South Wales for the four years 2014-15 to 2017-18 will be cut by over $1 billion.’
The Abbott Government’s $80 billion cut in funding to schools and hospitals is a clear broke promise from a government that promised no cuts to health.
These cuts are on top of the Abbott Government’s plan to introduce a new GP Tax, Hospital Tax, and more expensive medicines. Labor will oppose any proposal that makes it more difficult for Australians to access health services.