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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2782


Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (14:52): My question is to the Prime Minister. In his last budget, the Prime Minister cut more than $50 billion from hospitals across Australia, including the equivalent of a $729 million dollar cut to hospitals in the northern New South Wales region. How many doctors and nurses will be sacked from the Tweed Hospital, the Lismore hospital and the Ballina hospital because of the Prime Minister's cuts in his last budget, and how many more will be sacked because of the further cuts the Prime Minister will make in his next budget?

Ms LEY (FarrerMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (14:52): I am delighted to take a question from the member for Richmond about health and hospitals funding, and what she says is complete rubbish. From 1 July 2014, the funding guarantees of the National Health Reform Agreement have been removed and new indexation arrangements for Commonwealth funding will come into effect from 2017-18.

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat will cease!

Ms LEY: As the Prime Minister said, Commonwealth funding for public hospitals will still grow significantly, increasing by an average of about eight per cent per annum over the next four years, from $13½ billion—

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat will desist or leave the chamber. The choice is hers.

Ms LEY: to $18.3 billion in 2017-18. Let us look at Labor's record, because Labor talks the big talk on hospital funding. What we will not do in the Liberal and National parties is fund inefficiency and waste. I remember previous Prime Minister Rudd being so desperate to get the states to sign up to hospital funding and to paint the picture that they were solving the hospital funding crisis that he funded the states on activity, which in a sense you can understand. There is a rationale there: the more activity you get, the more money you get. But he was so desperate for them to sign up that he just put funding guarantees over the top—he just guaranteed their funding. They did not have to do anything to achieve that funding. It was just sitting there; basically cream off the top.

Unfortunately, we do not have the dollars to allocate from nowhere to fund inefficiency and waste in public hospitals. It is absolutely important that what we get right is the interaction between primary care and the public health system. I met with my New South Wales counterpart, Jillian Skinner, and we talked very constructively about future hospital agreements—

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat will leave under 94(a).

The member for Ballarat then left the chamber.

Ms LEY: that actually do save the both the state and the Commonwealth government money so that we reduce that inefficiency in the interface between going into and coming out of hospital. Do not come in here, in the context of a New South Wales election, and talk your rubbish.

The SPEAKER: The member for Lalor is warned!