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Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Page: 6380

Rural and Regional Health Services

Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (15:08): My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister outline to the House how a strong economy enables government to deliver record investment and critical health services for both regional and rural health in Australia, and is the minister aware of any other approaches?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (15:08): I want to thank the member for Wright, who came to this place as the owner and operator of a family business, a trucking business—Scotty the truckie. The whole point about that is that he knows that you can only create a successful business in the same way that you create a successful economy: with a plan. That plan can help create jobs, and those jobs—in the case of this country, over a million jobs—help allow us to provide essential services such as record funding for Medicare and record funding for the PBS, along with the guarantee that we will list every medicine that the PBAC recommends. We compare that, of course, with what Labor said in its 2011 budget:

… given the current fiscal environment, the listing of some medicines would be deferred until fiscal circumstances permit.

So that's what Labor does with health.

We know that, in the member for Wright's area, what we've been able to see from the record funding is an increase in hospital funding. In particular, the Gatton Hospital is part of the West Moreton district. How much has funding gone up under the Commonwealth? By 25 per cent. How much has it gone up under Queensland Labor? By five per cent. That's 25 per cent under us and five per cent under Queensland Labor. That's a pattern. It's a pattern we've also seen in Tasmania. In Tasmania, we had $294 million of Commonwealth funding from Labor last year, but already there's been $419 million under us, and it's increasing every year to $515 million under the National Health Reform Agreement that the Prime Minister has put forward and which we have already agreed with Tasmania.

Now, an interesting thing here is that Labor has a pattern of lying. They've said that we're trying to cut funding in Tasmania to northern Tasmanian hospitals by a million dollars. Yet our funding isn't up by $1 million, $10 million or $100 million; it's up by more than a billion dollars. We see $370 million over the course of the hospital reform agreement and $730 million for Mersey Community Hospital—$1.1 billion all up. So funding is up under us. Funding is down under Labor in the Caboolture area, and they're failing the challenge in the West Moreton area. Around Australia what you see is that the coalition, because of its economic management, can protect the PBS, invest in hospitals, increase spending and deliver new jobs. That's about managing the economy and delivering essential services. (Time expired)