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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 562

GP Superclinics

Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (15:04): My question is to the Minister for Health. I refer the minister to the Emerald GP superclinic in my electorate which was promised more than three years ago. It is still not open and still has not seen a patient. Will the minister update the House on how delays to the GP superclinic program have affected the provision of health services in Queensland?

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (15:04): Thank you very much to the hardworking member for Flynn. I appreciate his interest in health and thank him very much for this question. The GP superclinic program was held up by the former Minister for Health, the member for Sydney, former Minister Plibersek. It was one of the great programs of the Labor Party and their time in government. It is worth going back through the GP superclinic program to try to trawl through those many, many successes. Emerald happens to be among those, I am happy to inform the member for Flynn.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order, the member for Wakefield!

Mr DUTTON: Like the member for Flynn, I am a little old-fashioned on these things. I like to see a doctor's surgery, not an open paddock where patients are expected to go to see a GP. It is old-fashioned, I know—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Charlton will desist, as will the member for Wakefield.

Mr DUTTON: but the taxpayers are contributing $5 million for a vacant paddock and not one patient has been seen. Yet the former health minister trumpeted this as one of Labor's great successes. It is all relative, of course.

It was a $650 million program, the so-called GP superclinic program. Bear in mind that they had to borrow that $650 million. Bear in mind that other health needs faced this nation, such as the ageing of the population and a doubling of the amount that we were spending on medical services over the course of the last 10 years. The Labor Party was still able to set up 12 new bureaucracies and find $650 million of borrowed money to put into these superclinics for none of that to make any difference to patients. This is the ironic part of it: $650 million, in this particular case, was promised in August 2010.

There is another example I would like to point to and that is the Mt Isa GP superclinic. It was promised on 21 November 2007. In actual fact, I have this glossy press release here which talks about some money—$2½ million dollars of borrowed taxpayers' money—being put into a superclinic at Mt Isa. Again, it has never been built. Not one patient has been seen. This Labor Party left this government with $123 billion of accumulated deficits, racing towards debt of $667 billion. And there they were in government—with the former minister, the member for Sydney, saying that this was a great program—wasting money hand over fist, not cutting waiting lists and not investing in the areas that we needed to in health. They wasted money across government. They left us with an incredible mess. But we will clean up Labor's mess in health, as we will do in other portfolios. We will get Australia's health system back on track. But we will not do it by wasting taxpayers' money like Labor did with the superclinic program.