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Thursday, 13 November 2008
Page: 10925

Mr TRUSS (3:21 PM) —My question is also to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer the Acting Prime Minister to the Prime Minister’s commitment that the buck will stop with him when it comes to public hospitals. Given that nurses from the Dubbo hospital are borrowing bandages and urinary dipsticks from the local vet and meat has been taken from the menu at Coonabarabran hospital because they cannot afford to pay the butchers, what will the government do to help these hospitals meet their share of the $205 million that the New South Wales government has cut from the area health service as a part of its mini-budget?

Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —What I can say to the member is that the government did make promises about health before the election. We are honouring them. I have explained that we are working collaboratively on new Australian healthcare agreements, that we are working on reform, that the Prime Minister did say we would work through those processes first and that ultimately the buck did stop with him but that we would be working to improve health care.

What has this government done? We put $1 billion into our healthcare system. We put money into elective surgery waiting lists to make sure that people who were on queues for elective surgery would get assisted. All of that is additional resources above and beyond what the former government, the Liberal government—of which the member who asked me the question was a very senior member—provided. Above and beyond what the Liberal government put in, we have put in extra resources. I understand that the member is saying that there is more to be done in health, and I could not agree with him more. There is more to be done in health. We are working on new Australian healthcare agreements because we understand there is more to be done in health. But I would ask the member to reflect: given we have put in additional resources since the 2007 election, how bad was it when you were in government?