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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4612


Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (15:41): The opposition is very sensitive, because we have called out Labor's lies in Longman. We have called out Labor's lies in Longman, where they were running about and pretending that there have been cuts. You know what? Not only has there been, every year, in every state and territory, record funding for hospitals, record funding for Medicare and record funding for health under this government but, when you look at the very claims they make in Longman about Caboolture, there's an extraordinary story. Let me go right to the heart of the issue which seems to have excited them so much, because they have been caught out. Labor have been caught out, flat, plain lying as they did at the last election, but this time we're on to them from day one.

What do we hear from them? We hear that the Caboolture Hospital has somehow had a cut. They're half right and they're half wrong. They're right because Queensland Labor has cut funding. They're wrong because the federal coalition government has increased funding. How do we know this? Because the activity based funding which has been published confirms this. Let me give you some examples. This goes to credibility. When we look at the figures for Metro North, which includes Longman and the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, which I visited last week, and also includes Caboolture Hospital, we see that, over the last three years, coalition funding has gone up 38 per cent and Labor funding has gone up four per cent. But what is really instructive is to look at the last full year of funding. Coalition funding went up $120 million for the area, which includes Caboolture Hospital, in one year. What happened to Queensland Labor funding? There was a decrease of $21 million. So they were right in one respect. There have been some cuts to Caboolture Hospital and they are Queensland Labor's. They were silent on this. How could it be that you actually go there, stand outside the Caboolture Hospital and cover up your own side having made a cut of $21 million in the last year?

My favourite point is that the opposition shadow spokesperson for health loves to talk about the base year. So let me go to the base year, their last year of funding when they were in government. That was a $13 billion figure. Labor put in $13 billion, and since then the funding has gone up under the coalition to $14 billion for hospitals, to $15 billion for hospitals, to $17 billion to hospitals, to $18 billion to hospitals and to $20 billion—and in this budget the next four years are $21 billion, $22 billion, $23 billion and $24 billion. Each year, every year, every state, every territory: a record. That's the reality. And you know what is extraordinary? What you see is that funding has increased at a faster rate under the federal coalition than under the previous Labor government. We were starting from your base! We were starting from Labor's base. Each year, every year, a record in funding, and each year, every year, what we've seen is that the coalition has increased at a faster rate than Labor. That is exactly what we are seeing. It is the same whether it's in Medicare or it's in health as a whole. What we see is that the overall health budget is up $12.4 billion this year. It goes from $99 billion to $102 billion to $104 billion to $109 billion. Medicare goes up from $25 billion to $26 billion to $27 billion to $29 billion. That is up $4.8 billion.

What we see now is that Labor are so incapable of making their own arguments that they are now saying, 'Yes, it's going up, but the population's growing.' You know what? Medicare funding is going up. Let me give you some examples of new Medicare items which we brought in: 3D mammograms for up to 200,000 women are included in this budget, as is a new funding item—

Ms Catherine King interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): The member for Ballarat is warned.

Mr HUNT: for MRIs for men potentially with prostate cancer and new tests for cystic fibrosis. We have new cataract surgery items, which will have a major impact in many areas of rural and regional Australia. This is what we are actually doing. There is more funding in Medicare, more funding in hospitals—more funding right across health.

There is an additional $338 million for mental health services, including $100 million for support for older Australians, whether it's in residential care or in the community, for their mental health needs. There is funding for beyondblue for their extraordinary Way Back program, and I commend former Prime Minister Gillard for her work with the government and now with the states on that. This is a program to give people treatment at the very moment they are most likely to take their own lives. It's a cooperative program which we've embarked upon. Similarly, we're contributing $33 million to Lifeline. With the great Professor Patrick McGorry and other leaders such as Professor Kapur, Professor Helen Milroy and Professor Tracey Wade, from South Australia, who is an expert in eating disorders, we are putting together a $125 million Million Minds Mental Health initiative under the Medical Research Future Fund—the largest, longest, single investment in mental health research in Australian history.

Let us compare that with our friends on the other side. When you look at what's happening in Queensland, you see the absolute truth. In Mackay, we're increasing funding by 30 per cent; Labor at the state level are decreasing funding in that region by two per cent—a 32 per cent difference. Townsville is an extraordinary example. In Townsville we see that we're increasing funding by 25 per cent, and it is a zero per cent change over the last three years, but I had a look at the ABF figures for Queensland in the Townsville area for the last full year. It has gone from $374 million to $346 million. So Queensland Labor have cut their own funding to their own hospitals in their own seat by $28 million. So there you go. That is an extraordinary thing about which they are absolutely silent. If they want to have a debate about facts, let's go for broke. Let's have a debate about facts.

But there is something that is even more significant than that: a vision for the Australian health system. What we saw on budget night was a vision for the Australian health system which covered our primary care and a-once-in-a-generation reform of our rural workforce system, and I am delighted to have at the table the assistant minister who was one of the architects of that system. What we see here are 3,000 new doctors and 3,000 new nurses for rural Australia with better opportunities for doctors, better opportunities for nurses and better outcomes for patients. That is a fundamental reform of profound significance and meaning.

In addition to all those Medicare items that I mentioned—for example, for mammograms, for prostate cancer, for cystic fibrosis and for cataract surgery—what we also see is an investment in new medicines. There is $2.4 billion, including for Spinraza, this extraordinary medicine to assist with spinal muscular atrophy for kids who would otherwise never have that opportunity; and for Kisqali for over 3,150 breast cancer patients who wouldn't have access to that medicine. And that compares—and this is the thing—with what Labor did when Labor was in office. They deliberately made a decision not to follow the advice of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. They did that on the statement of the former minister, who said they could not list everything that the PBAC provided. We are very happy to provide those quotes. We guarantee that we will do that.

They left medicines for pulmonary conditions, asthma, endometriosis, IVF and schizophrenia on the table on the side and chose not to advance those listings at the time that it was progressed. And they made deliberate, conscious decisions. That is the difference. In the end, when it comes to health, we don't just pledge; we deliver each year, every year, record funding, hospitals, Medicare, health and mental health. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Bowman on a point of order?

Mr Laming: Standing order 89, unparliamentary language, the member for Ballarat; the use of the word 'idiot' is unacceptable.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Does the member for Ballarat wish to withdraw?

Ms Catherine King: I withdraw that reference to the minister.