Davis, Springborg and Skinner: shallow diversion turns out to be all hot air
Three State Coalition governments have tried to shift blame for their poor health performance and looming budget cuts by misleading their constituents about the impact of carbon pricing on hospitals.
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10 August 2012
Three State Coalition governments today tried to shift blame for their poor health performance and looming budget cuts by misleading their constituents about the impact of carbon pricing on hospitals.
“While other Labor and Coalition ministers were meeting to discuss important health issues such as addressing workforce shortages, midwifery services and dementia, the Queensland, Victorian and NSW ministers were instead focussing on a stunt.”
“This is another example of Coalition governments deliberately misleading the Australian public about the impact of carbon pricing,” said Ms Plibersek. “And they’re doing it to detract attention from their own health failures.”
Ms Plibersek said the Commonwealth was already paying more than enough for modest increases in hospital costs from electricity price rises.
She said the Commonwealth Treasury and Department of Health and Ageing estimate that the impact of the carbon price will only be 0.3% on hospital costs. This is equivalent to only one cent for every $3 spent on hospitals.
Commonwealth increases in funding cover extra costs many, many times over.
Indexation of the hospital agreement will see federal hospital funding increase by 6.5% in 2012-13, going up each year to more than 10% in 2015-16.
As well as indexation, the Gillard Government is making unprecedented extra investment in new buildings and extra hospital services.
The Commonwealth is delivering a stronger, fairer health system by providing an additional $20 billion in funding under the health agreement for state and territory health services to 2019-20.
By contrast, Tony Abbott cut funding for public hospitals by $1 billion when he was Health Minister.
Ms Plibersek said the states were trying to divert attention from their inaction on health reform and the fact their hospitals might not reach the elective surgery targets agreed between them and the Commonwealth.
“For example, Victoria failed to meet its elective surgery targets and had 20% of its reward funding withheld.
She said Victoria had also failed to enact legislation to ensure Commonwealth payments can be made to local hospitals networks, which would allow the community to know where their money is going.
“As far as Queensland is concerned June data shows it only met the 2012 target for Category 1 elective surgery patients. Queensland will need to improve its performance under Categories 2 and 3, while maintaining its current Category 1 performance, to meet all of the 2012 targets and be eligible to receive reward funding.”
“I am also extremely concerned about the reports that the Queensland Government is going to cut around $80 million from Brisbane hospitals.”
Ms Plibersek made the comments after a meeting of the Standing Committee on Health and Ageing, in response to a press release issued during the meeting by the three ministers.
She said health ministers should be strong supporters of reducing carbon pollution because of the affect it has on the health of Australians.
Despite the press release from Victoria, Queensland and NSW, their Health Ministers did not raise carbon pricing in the meeting at all.
Victoria FiguresSince 2007, the Federal Government has committed over $16.4 billion to hospital services and health infrastructure in Victoria.
Victoria will be funded up to $821 million to improve elective surgery and emergency departments up to 2015-16, on top of growth funding to 2019-20.
NSW FiguresSince 2007, the Federal Government has committed over $21.3 billion to hospital services and health infrastructure in NSW.
NSW will be funded up to $1.06 billion to improve elective surgery and emergency departments up to 2015-16, on top of growth funding to 2019-20.
Queensland FiguresSince 2007, the Federal Government has committed over $13.5 billion to hospital services and health infrastructure in Queensland.
Queensland will be funded up to $675m to improve elective surgery and emergency departments up to 2015-16, on top of growth funding to 2019-20.
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