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Wednesday, 23 October 2002
Page: 8539


Mr ANDREWS (Minister for Ageing) (10:29 AM) —in reply—The Health Care (Appropriation) Amendment Bill 2002 proposes amendments to the Health Care (Appropriation) Act 1998. Under the current Australian health care agreements with the states and territories, the Howard government is investing almost $32 billion in public hospitals over five years, a real increase of 28 per cent, or $7 billion, over the previous Labor government's agreements.

As has already been outlined, this bill is a significant bill as it provides increased funding to the states and territories through the current Australian health care agreements. This includes the offer of additional funding to the states and territories, the indexation of the health care grants by wage cost index No. 1 and the government forgoing its right to claw back any funding from the states in recognition of increased private health insurance coverage. The bill also requires the minister to table in both houses of parliament a statement of the actual amount of financial assistance paid under section 4 of the act.

I thank all members who have contributed to this debate, and I thank the opposition for their support of this bill, which further illustrates this government's strong commitment to health care.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House without amendment.