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Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Page: 303

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (09:30): I rise today to ask the Minister for Health what the problem is that she has with the Victorian health system. Why is she treating it with such contempt? Why did she make a decision halfway through a financial year which ripped $107 million from our state budgets? After CEOs had put their plans in place for the financial year, done all the hard work and worked out how their hospitals were going to function for 12 months, why did the minister come in and rip out $107 million five months into that financial year, throwing everything into chaos?

I can tell you what this means locally for my electorate: South West Healthcare, a $1.4 million reduction; Western District Health Service, $430,000 reduction; East Grampians Health Service, $181,000; Maryborough District Health Service, $173,000; Portland District Health, $257,000; Beaufort and Skipton Health Services, $55,000; Casterton Memorial Hospital, $46,000; Heywood Rural Health, a small rural health provider, $31,000; Moyne Health Services, $47,000; Terang and Mortlake Health Services, $69,000; and Timboon and District Healthcare Service, $50,000. These healthcare services could not afford to have this money ripped away from them by an uncaring health minister. Not only that, in our area we have seen utter disdain for a movement which is trying to get in place an integrated cancer centre. Peter's Project wrote to the health minister saying that they would like a meeting to see her to talk about developing an integrated cancer care centre for south-west Victoria. She did not even respond to the letter. She got a middle-ranking bureaucrat to reply, saying, 'Sorry, no meeting, no money.' The community would not stomach that. What did they do? They wrote to the Prime Minister and asked her to get the Minister for Health to reverse her decision. It was only because of that that she reversed it and she will now see them. As the front page of the Warnambool Standard said, 'What an insult.' The Minister for Health has to treat Victoria's health system with the proper due diligence that it deserves.