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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2511

Health Care

Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:05): My question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has cut millions of dollars from Tasmania's public hospitals and now wants to lock in these cuts for another seven years. Almost 6,000 Tasmanians are waiting for elective surgery in Tasmania, with one in 10 patients waiting for almost a year. So will the Prime Minister join with Labor to invest $30 million to help clear this backlog so Tasmanians can get the health care they deserve?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (15:06): I'm delighted to take this question, because in Labor's last year in office Commonwealth funding to Tasmanian hospitals was $300 million. This year, under us, it's $393 million. By the end of the forward estimates, it will be $440 million. Only a few weeks ago, the Prime Minister offered Tasmania an additional $403 million over and above the current five-year period for the next five-year period. So in every year under this government there has been record funding for Tasmania's hospitals. In addition to that, there was a $730 million one-off bonus with the passage of the Mersey hospital back to Tasmania. So it has not only been record funding each and every year; the largest single medical payment in Tasmania's history of $730 million was made last year. So what we see is a 47 per cent increase from when we came in to the end of the forward estimates under this government.

But there's something that's very interesting. They ask about waiting times for elective surgery. I just happened to have a look at this before question time today to update myself. You know what? In 2014-15, the last year before Labor left office in Tasmania, 63 per cent of surgeries for category 1 in the Royal Hobart Hospital occurred within 30 days. Now 73 per cent, or 10 per cent better, under the Hodgman government occur within those 30 days. So since state Labor's last year in government it's gone from 63 per cent within 30 days to the Hodgman government's 73 per cent in 30 days. In other words, there has been a 10 per cent or massive increase in the on-time completion. It's also the same in the Launceston hospital. Very interestingly, when you look at category 2 there, you see in 2014-15 under the previous state Labor government that 35 per cent of category 2 operations occurred within 90 days. Under the Hodgman government, it's double that—71 per cent are done within that time. Sometimes it's better to keep quiet and let everybody suspect rather than to get up and confirm so that everybody knows. The truth is that funding has gone up each and every year under us. The truth is the Hodgman government has reduced waiting times, whether it's in the Royal Hobart Hospital or the Launceston hospital. You know what? It compares very favourably to the calamities in the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the disgrace that is the South Australian health system.