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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1056


Mr PASIN (Barker) (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Health. Is the minister aware of a media report on 19 November on the News Corp Australia network highlighting the use of health budget resources for a Smokescreen Music Festival that never happened and a burnout competition? How is the government proposing to address waste in the health budget?

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (14:59): Call me old fashioned but I thought the Minister for Health was responsible for helping sick people, for making sure that when patients turned up to emergency departments we could provide them with the services that they need, maybe even provide elective surgery for pensioners who are waiting for a hip replacement or a knee replacement, but no. That was not the approach of the previous minister.

Ms Plibersek interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Sydney will desist.

Mr DUTTON: Again, the previous minister is a little touchy because she knows what is coming. Not only did the previous government take money away from chemotherapy services, not only did they promise superclinics that never saw patients, not only did they take money away from desperate patients but now we find out that they were providing money for burnout competitions here in Canberra. It is a great capital but should we be spending money on burnout competitions instead of providing services for patients across the whole country?

I will tell you what: under this government we will not tolerate this sort of waste and mismanagement. The former government left us with $370 billion of debt. I promise the Australian people that once we have cleaned up Labor's mess we will make sure that more patients get elective surgery. I will make sure that it is easier for patients to see their doctors. I want to make sure that, instead of spending money on this nonsense that Labor subscribed to to keep their union mates happy, we will spend it on patients instead. They grew the bureaucracy. They had 18 outside agencies in addition to the department and they were spending money on Facebook competitions and this sort of activity, which will not be tolerated under this government.

I will make sure that the health of this nation is put ahead of these sorts of ridiculous proposals and funding agreements that Labor entered into and I will deliver, as this government will, for the Australian patients.