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Transcript of doorstop interview: Logan, Queensland: 4 May 2018: Liberals' $715m cuts to hospitals; 2018 Budget; Turnbull's $80 billion big business handout



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THE HON CATHERINE KING MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE

JIM CHALMERS MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE MEMBER FOR RANKIN

DES HARDMAN

LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FORDE

E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP LOGAN FRIDAY, 4 MAY 2018

SUBJECT/S: Liberals’ $715m cuts to hospitals; 2018 Budget; Turnbull’s $80 billion big business handout

DES HARDMAN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FORDE: Thanks for being here today. My name's Des Hardman, I'm Labor's candidate for Forde at the next federal election. Lucky enough to be here at Logan Hospital, at my hospital where I work, today. I'm a radiographer here, and when I come in to do my shifts, I come here to work hard for the people of this community and the people of Forde. Lucky enough to be here today with Catherine King, with Labor's Shadow Health Minister, and Jim Chalmers, Member for Rankin. Catherine and Jim have come here today to have a look at the great work that we do here at Logan Hospital and talk about the future needs of Logan Hospital and our community as far as health services are concerned. I'll just hand over to Catherine now.

CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH: Thanks. It's terrific to be here with Des Hardman and my colleague, Jim Chalmers, to talk about Malcolm Turnbull's cuts to public hospital funding. What we've seen today at Logan Hospital is the amazing work that the staff here are doing, including people like Des whose workplace this actually is. What we've seen is what good progressive Labor governments do. You see behind you, the emergency department, $175 million investment from a progressive Labor Government. We've heard about the investment of over $200 million from the Queensland Labor State Government into this hospital.

Unfortunately, what you get from the Liberal Party though is cuts to public hospitals. The staff here at this hospital are doing a fantastic job with the resources that they have. But we know that Logan Hospital is stretched. The emergency department is seeing more and more patients and they are sicker and sicker when they come in. They don't have enough wards to be able to actually move people out of emergency into other parts of the hospital system. And what is Malcolm Turnbull's response to this been? Malcolm Turnbull's response to our public hospitals, the demand that our staff are seeing across public hospitals, has been to cut $715 million out of public hospitals over the course of the next three years alone.

In the state of Queensland, that's $160 million over the next three years, and here in this region, $6.1 million that has come out of this hospital system. We know we can't keep asking our hospitals to do more with less and less, but that is what Malcolm Turnbull is doing. Just at this hospital alone, that means 9000 emergency department presentations that can't be funded. It means over 33,000 outpatient visits that can't actually be funded at this hospital because of Malcolm Turnbull's cuts.

They're happy to give $80 billion worth of tax cuts to some of the largest corporations, including the banks. But they're not prepared to properly fund Queensland hospitals. They're not prepared to properly fund Logan Hospital. They're not prepared to fund that nation's hospitals. I'll hand over to Jim.

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks very much, Catherine. It's terrific that Catherine King is back here again. Catherine's been here a number of times and we're here today with Des Hardman, our outstanding candidate for Forde, who works in this hospital, and it's great to be here today on the International Day of the Midwife.

The defining feature of the Budget, which will be handed down in four days' time is an $80 billion handout to multinationals at the same time as Malcolm Turnbull wants to pull $715 million out of the hospitals of Australia. Malcolm Turnbull is so stupendously out of touch that he can find $80 billion to give the top end of town, but he can't find $715 million to restore his cuts to hospitals. If Malcolm Turnbull or Scott Morrison had any idea whatsoever of what hospitals like this mean to our local communities, they wouldn't even be contemplating pulling hundreds of millions of dollars out at the same time as they want to reward the big banks with a tax cut that they don't need and they don't deserve.

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison should come to any hospital in Australia, they should come to Logan or any hospital in Australia, and explain to the people who work there, the people who are being treated there, why he thinks it's a higher priority for Australia to give an $80 billion tax cut of which $17 billion will go to just the four big banks, instead of restoring that $715 million that Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have pulled out of hospitals. This Budget in four days' time should be about supporting local hospitals, not rewarding the big banks for their dodgy behaviour.

This Budget is an opportunity for Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison to change course. The test for them is to restore their cuts to hospitals, restore their cuts to schools, ditch their zombie savings attacks on pensioners and to change course on this $80 billion handout for multinationals and the big four banks, which the country can't afford, particularly when it's happening at the same time as our health system is seeing hundreds of millions of dollars ripped out by this Liberal Government in Canberra. Over to you.

JOURNALIST: How have they attempted to justify it?

KING: The Government's tried to say that they've in fact put more money in to public hospitals, and I've got no doubt if you look at Greg Hunt's Twitter feed, he's probably tweeting as we speak now about how they've put more money in public hospitals. They've put more money in compared to Tony Abbott into public hospitals. That is a cut. We saw that disastrous 2014 Budget, which cut millions and billions of dollars out of our public hospitals. They've done a little bit better than Tony Abbott. That's how they justify it. Doing better than Tony Abbott is the bar that Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt have set themselves. Well the bar that we're setting them is to actually properly fund our public hospitals and fix the mess that Tony Abbott started and that Malcolm Turnbull keeps perpetuating.

JOURNALIST: The funding they're taking, you're saying effectively they're giving it to the banks. Are you basically saying that they should stop giving it to the banks and return it to health care?

KING: Yeah, we're basically saying that they have got the wrong priorities. Labor's priorities actually make sure that we properly fund our hospitals, that we properly fund our schools, that we stop actually taking millions of dollars out of pensions - people who are very vulnerable and need to make sure that we look after them in their retirement years. This is what this Government has been doing. We're saying, our priorities are to fund our hospitals and our schools and to make sure we've got a decent social security system for the nation. What this Government wants to do is give $80 billion to the top end of town, with a large proportion of that going into the big banks. We think they've got the wrong priorities. They've got an opportunity in four days to actually change course. It's a test we want to set for them. Let's see if they keep it. We doubt that they will.

JOURNALIST: $80 billion - that's a couple of good hospitals isn't it, really?

KING: $80 billion, you could do a lot with $80 billion. The fact that the Government has got this $80 billion unfunded basically corporate tax cut at the same time as ripping millions of dollars out of our hospitals, billions of dollars out of our public schools system - and you see that right across the country, the impact that that's having - just shows that they've got the wrong priorities.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACTS: NATHAN PAULL 0427 532 705 (CHALMERS) ADAM GARTRELL 0427 008 525 (KING)

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra