Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 2543

Hospitals


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:59): My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, Senator McKenzie. In my home state of New South Wales, the Turnbull government's cut to public hospital funding of $215 million is equivalent to 322,000 emergency department visits, 59,000 cataract extractions or 35,000 births. Does the $715 million cut to Australian public hospitals remain government policy?


Senator McKENZIE (VictoriaMinister for Rural Health, Minister for Sport, Minister for Regional Communications and Deputy Leader of The Nationals) (15:00): Thank you, Senator Cameron, for your question because it allows me to outline for the Senate once again—we've done this a couple of times and I'm happy to do it again—the record investment that our government is putting into hospital funding through the hospital agreements with states right throughout the Federation. Since I was last able to update the Senate, we've had a few newcomers on board. The Western Australian Labor government has seen the light, the ACT Labor government has seen the light, the Northern Territory Labor government has seen the light and we've seen South Australia—thanks to a change of government in South Australia—Tasmania and New South Wales sign up to our national agreements. This will see record funding delivered to each and every state and territory government, year on year, as far as the eye can see.

Senator Cameron: Mr President, I raise a point of order on relevance. My question is: does the $715 million cut to Australian public hospitals remain government policy?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron—

Senator Cameron: I don't want the rhetoric. I want to know: is the $715 million cut still there?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, you have one opportunity to restate the question, maybe, but not two. The minister is being directly relevant to the issue of funding of public hospitals, which was the question you asked.

Senator McKENZIE: I know you like to frame things as cuts, and you did the same with education. It's actually not the case. On 9 February, New South Wales and Western Australia signed the heads of agreement on public hospital funding and health reform and accepted the Commonwealth's offer. What that will mean in your home state, Senator Cameron and all other New South Wales senators, is more services in hospitals, more primary health care and actually assuring those not just in Sydney but right throughout New South Wales of funding going as far as the eye can see. I'm very happy to go to the specifics of the New South Wales agreement and go through, line by line, the increase in funding that your particular state will receive, thanks to signing up to the agreement. I note, Senator Cameron, that you are not talking about what provision— (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, a supplementary question.








Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:02): The Australian Medical Association says:

The current funding formula will doom our public hospitals to fail, and patients will suffer as a result.

How does the Turnbull government intend to correct the current funding formula?


Senator McKENZIE (VictoriaMinister for Rural Health, Minister for Sport, Minister for Regional Communications and Deputy Leader of The Nationals) (15:03): Senator Cameron, I promised to give you the figures for the record investment from the Commonwealth government into New South Wales public hospital funding, and I'm very happy to share them with you. From 2017-18, there will be an annual growth of $289 million. In 2018-19, there will be $330 million of annual growth. In 2019-20, there will be $345.9 million worth of annual growth. In 2020-21—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, on a point of order?

Senator Cameron: Yes, Mr President, on relevance. I've asked particularly about the AMA indicating that the formula will doom public hospitals. I'd like an answer on the AMA's position.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, you know I cannot instruct the minister how to answer a question. I consider the minister to be directly relevant to the material of the question.

Senator McKENZIE: Senator Cameron, I've outlined once again the record investment in New South Wales public hospitals. So that means allied health; that means nurses; that means more services to New South Welsh men and women over the forward estimates. You might want to claim— (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, a final supplementary question.







Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:04): Why is the Turnbull government leaving patients to suffer in doomed public hospitals while giving an $80 billion handout to big business?


Senator McKENZIE (VictoriaMinister for Rural Health, Minister for Sport, Minister for Regional Communications and Deputy Leader of The Nationals) (15:04): I completely reject the premise of your question. When I visit New South Wales hospitals out in the regions I'm not seeing what you're seeing. What I'm seeing is doctors working hard, nurses working hard and hospital administrators working hard with the record investment that the New South Wales government has recognised is something that's going to deliver a record number of services into the New South Wales health system.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron on a point of order.

Senator Cameron: I simply asked: why is the government giving an $80 billion handout to big business, while the AMA is saying hospitals are doomed?

The PRESIDENT: I'm going to take this opportunity before I rule on that: latitude is granted to restate terms of questions but not to simply repeat questions. The minister is directly relevant. I ask senators to keep that in mind.

Senator McKENZIE: I'm really proud of our government and our record commitment for the national reform funding agreements that so many of your state colleagues have recognised have value. I'm sorry: if the AMA is saying that it's not going to work out, why has Premier McGowan signed up, why has the ACT government signed up and why has the Northern Territory Labor Party government signed up to the record funding?

Senator Fifield: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.