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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4353

Health Care

Mr ENTSCH (Leichhardt) (15:10): My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister update the House on how a stronger economy allows the government to deliver essential health services to the people of North Queensland? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (15:10): I want to thank the member for Leichhardt, who knows that you need a plan for a strong economy and that that, in turn, helps deliver jobs. It's helped deliver a million jobs which are fundamental to guaranteeing services—local services such as an investment of $500,000 in the Junction Clubhouse to assist those with mental health challenges to recover, to have a safe space and to have a way forward. Also it assists in providing record funding each year for Medicare, with an additional $4.8 billion; funding which will help with mental health, with an additional $338 million; funding for the PBS for new drugs, such as Spinraza for SMA or Kisqali for breast cancer; or record funding, with an additional $30 billion to help our hospitals around Australia.

He asks me whether there are any alternatives to this approach, and there are. There is the way that Labor has covered up the cutting of and reduction in funding in many parts of Queensland by Queensland Labor. There's a very interesting comparison here. I saw some comments from Susan Lamb, a former member of this place, about Caboolture Hospital, not dissimilar to those of the shadow minister or the Leader of the Opposition. You know what? The Labor comments were Labor lies. The reason is because they asserted that we were cutting at the very time we were increasing and Labor was reducing.

Let's look at the situation in relation to Commonwealth funding in the member's own area. What we see is that in the member for Leichhardt's area the state Labor funding was up 14 per cent and Commonwealth funding was up 20 per cent. If you go further south, in Townsville state Labor funding was up zero per cent and Commonwealth funding was up 25 per cent. In Dawson state Labor funding was down per cent after cuts and reductions, and Commonwealth funding was up 30 per cent. Where is the figure greatest? It's in the area of the Caboolture Hospital, where the Metro North has seen a four per cent increase in state Labor funding and a 38 per cent increase in Commonwealth funding.

What we see here is that we are delivering the real increases in funding, whilst Labor is slashing. Most significantly, the Labor candidate for Longman is covering up her own Labor mates having cut funding. Last year they reduced funding to Metro North by $20 million, whilst we increased it by $120 million. If you can't manage the economy—Labor can never manage the economy—you can't manage health. (Time expired)

Mr Turnbull: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.