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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Page: 14200


Mr PERRETT (MoretonOpposition Whip) (10:53): Every year there are nearly eight million presentations to public hospital emergency departments across Australia. That works out at an average of 21,000 presentations each day, all with tales of horror and heartache. Sadly, I've had to take my wife and my children—both of my sons—to the emergency departments at the QEII and the Mater over the years. They've contributed to that tally on a couple of occasions, and I have too—I've been along on one occasion as well. I'll give a shout-out to the new series of Veep that I'm looking forward to watching, which actually caused one of my trips to the emergency department!

The emergency departments do serious work, and the credit goes to the local hospitals and professional staff who patch us up and send us on our way, often while being asked to do more with less. As our population grows, more people need to access our public hospitals. But, in Queensland alone, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has cut $160 million from our local hospitals, despite promising on the eve of the 2013 election not to do so. At community barbecues across Moreton, whilst on the phones and when doorknocking local residents, people are telling me that the Morrison government is defined by its chaos in Canberra—chaos in leadership, chaos across the parliament and chaos on key issues like the misconduct revealed in the banking royal commission. But I think it's important that we also define the Morrison government by its cuts—cuts to education, cuts to penalty rates, cuts to wages on their watch and obviously most importantly cuts to critical frontline health services and hospitals.

The Morrison government still has its $160 million cut from Queensland public hospitals on its books. It's actually in the current budget. What does this look like? That's the equivalent of 240,000 emergency department visits or 44,000 cataract extractions or 26,500 births. Of this $160 million slashed from Queensland hospitals, it results in a cut from our local hospitals of over $16 million. That's $16 million slashed from QEII Jubilee Hospital and the Princess Alexandra Hospital. And for the other local major hospitals that are often used by Moreton residents, this latest cut means the Mater Hospital will have its funding cut by more than $4 million. The Queensland Children's Hospital at South Brisbane, the major specialist children's hospital for Queensland, will have their federal funding cut by more than $6 million, passing the buck to the Queensland government to ensure that our sick kids get the specialist care they need. Every dollar cut from our hospitals is a dollar cut from our most vulnerable Queenslanders.

Only Labor will ensure that our healthcare system has the funding that it needs. Labor will fix this by not giving tax cuts and handouts to the top end of town: big business, big banks and multinationals. Australians have a choice at this election: a choice between chaos and Labor. (Time expired)