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Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Page: 9209

Health Care


Senator BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (14:35): My question is to the Minister for International Development and the Pacific representing the Minister for Health, Senator Fierravanti-Wells. Will the minister outline to the Senate the Turnbull government's commitment to public hospital funding?


Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS (New South WalesMinister for International Development and the Pacific) (14:35): I thank Senator Brockman for his question. The Turnbull government is delivering continued funding growth for state and territory hospitals. Since coming into government we have delivered $13.8 billion, and will deliver up to a record $22.7 billion in 2020. This is a 64 per cent increase—

Senator Cash interjecting

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: I'm coming to that, Senator Cash. This is a 64 per cent increase over that period that will take spending to a record of $103 billion over the next four years. Now, Kristina Keneally, in the case of New South Wales, can't get it right, and, of course, she hasn't got it right on hospitals—

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Order! Senator Fierravanti-Wells, please resume your seat.

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: and can't work out if the investment in our hospitals in New South Wales has been—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Fierravanti-Wells, please resume your seat! It's getting ridiculous when I've got to shout to be heard when Senator Hinch has been on his feet for 20 seconds. Senator Hinch—

Senator Hinch: You know the complaint.

The PRESIDENT: I know, and I was trying to draw the chamber to order before you rose. Can we please allow our colleagues down the rear of the chamber to hear questions, answers and even the occasional interjection.

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Under this government, funding for New South Wales hospitals is 43 per cent higher than during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. Let's look at that record. There was the so-called hospital reform—remember? At least Stephen Conroy had a coaster to talk about his NBN. As far as the so-called hospital reform was concerned, there wasn't even a back-of-an-envelope plan. So what did we see during that period? We saw over 10 bureaucracies created and a 27 per cent increase in staff. But the most momentous thing was all of those hospital visits. Remember those? That's all your legacy was—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Fierravanti-Wells, you know—

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: That's all your legacy was: Dr Rudd and—

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Fierravanti-Wells, when I call your name, please cease. You know better than most, from your service here, that props have no place in this chamber.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: If someone wishes to raise a point of order, they shouldn't do it through an interjection.

Senator Cameron interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron!

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: In those six years of fiscal vandalism, all we saw was Dr Rudd and Nurse Roxon travelling around the countryside having their photographs taken at any hospital that would have them— (Time expired)

Senator Watt: Give her some more! Come on!

Senator Cameron interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Watt! Senator Cameron! Order on my left. Senator Brockman, a supplementary question.

















Senator BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (14:39): Can the minister update the Senate on how the Turnbull government is supporting patients, with a particular focus, in light of your first answer, on what's happening in New South Wales?


Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS (New South WalesMinister for International Development and the Pacific) (14:39): Thank you, Senator Brockman. On the issue of public hospital funding, there is a simple truth. The truth is the coalition is delivering $42.1 billion to New South Wales hospitals from 2014-15 to 2020-21, while the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments delivered only $27 billion to New South Wales hospitals during the time they were in government. All Australians in my home state of New South Wales are benefiting from our delivery of health and wellbeing to Australians.

There was a time, however, that the health of New South Wales residents was put on hold. It was during the time, of course, that Kristina Keneally led the Labor government. The waiting times for elective surgeries in Ryde Hospital blew out completely. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Brockman, on a final supplementary question.



Senator BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (14:40): Thank you, Minister, for your answer. Is the minister aware of any risks to the government's record investment in the health of patients, again, given your first two answers, in light of what is happening in New South Wales?


Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS (New South WalesMinister for International Development and the Pacific) (14:40): There's only one threat to our health system and that's those opposite because, if their record from the time that they were in government is any indication, they are not a friend of Medicare.

Senator Cameron interjecting

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Their idea of protecting Medicare was sending their thug mates in—your mates, Senator Cameron, and the ones that Senator Cash was scaring little old ladies at midnight with—during the last federal election. That's their idea of a really good health policy.

Let me go back to Bennelong. The waiting times at Ryde Hospital during the time of the Keneally government blew out. Residents in Bennelong were waiting beyond the medically recommended times to receive important surgeries like hip and knee replacements. In 2011-12 alone, 77 residents had their surgeries delayed during that period. (Time expired)