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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 640


Mrs ANDREWS (3:08 PM) —My question is to the Assistant Treasurer. What will the Commonwealth’s share of the funding of any new hospital building be during the period of the government’s latest health reform proposal?


Mr SHORTEN (Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation) —I am just trying to recall the seat that the member represents—McPherson. Congratulations for winning the preselection for McPherson, too. In terms of Commonwealth arrangements on hospital funding, the government remain committed, as we have since being elected, to reforming hospital funding in Australia. What we have done since the election, what has been negotiated most recently at COAG, is that 50 per cent of funding of the COAG arrangements will be done by the federal government. From 2014 to 2020, there will be $16 billion extra spent by the Commonwealth in this COAG arrangement. When we have a look at what has been done in terms of health reform and the efforts of the opposition—


Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am just watching the minister get an answer from his colleague over there.


The SPEAKER —The minister was sat down because you have risen on a point of order. Now, come to your point of order.


Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —The point of order is that we are supposed to have direct answers given these days, under the new so-called ‘paradigm’. This is the same old preamble—not answering the question in particular. He was asked by the member for McPherson about capital funding for a particular hospital building. By now he might have the answer from his colleague.


The SPEAKER —I thank the member for Mackellar for reminding us of the question.


Mr SHORTEN —I always love it when the Leader of the Opposition gets his spiritual mother up to help him out! I did not ask the member to run her point of order, but I listened very carefully. In terms of infrastructure expenditure, just to assist the member for McPherson, our Health and Hospitals Fund is $1.8 billion, for which bids are currently open. We will be allocating up to $5 billion going forward. The member for McPherson is always welcome to go to the government website to find the answers to these questions, as well as question time.