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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4621


Mr CREWTHER (Dunkley) (16:17): This MPI by the Labor opposition about their proposal that the government is cutting hospitals and health care is absolute nonsense. The federal Labor opposition and the Victorian Labor state government are running a campaign of lies regarding health funding across Australia and, in particular, Victorian hospital funding.

Ms Chesters: Including Frankston Hospital.

Mr CREWTHER: They are doing a disservice to and harming my constituents in Dunkley—and indeed, as the member opposite said, in Frankston. I am calling upon Labor to take responsibility for their lies and misinformation campaign, which is spreading a scare campaign for those working in health care in my electorate. It is certainly a reminder of their 'Mediscare' campaign at the last election, for which Labor still haven't apologised. It wasn't true, it isn't true and it will never be true. That scared many of my constituents in Dunkley, but I stood up for them on this, and I will continue to stand up for them against the lies that are being spread by those opposite.

The Labor Party are the real party of cuts, because they like to talk about them so much: cuts to health, cuts to Medicare, cuts to education, cuts for TAFE. They're all false, and none of these cuts are happening. They just love to use the word 'cuts' to cover the fact that they are the real party of cuts in this country, reducing our standard of living, when it comes to taxing your housing, your retirement savings, your income and so much more. The fact is that federal funding for public hospital services under the coalition has increased from $13.3 billion in 2013-14 to a record $22.7 billion in 2020-21, a 70 per cent increase. That's about $10 billion more than when Labor were in government. How they frame that as a cut is beyond me.

Locally, at Peninsula Health, in Frankston in my electorate, their funding in 2013-14 from the state was about $170 million and from the federal government was $135 million. In 2016-17, state funding increased by about $24 million to $194.9 million, whereas federal funding increased by over $56 million to $191.6 million. Federal funding growth in Victorian hospitals, including at Peninsula Health, is more than double that of the state government. This is despite hospital management being primarily a responsibility of the state government.

It's not just about dollars; it's about the effectiveness of investment. Our funding is supporting more services, more doctors and more nurses in public hospitals. But Victoria has still not signed up to our new national hospitals agreement, despite the fact that it has been signed by WA, the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales. As far back as March this was an issue. I issued a media release on 1 March and told the Dunkley public that the Andrews Labor government, including the state Labor member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke, have shunned Victorians and are spreading lies. I will not put up with such falsities being fed to local residents as well as employees in the healthcare sector on the important issue of health care.

Minister Hunt, the Minister for Health, an ardent supporter of health investment, especially on the Mornington Peninsula, particularly given he was born at Frankston Hospital, pointed out in that media release that Commonwealth funding has increased much faster than Victorian state funding. The new national hospitals agreement would provide Victorian hospitals with an additional $7.4 billion, an increase of 29.6 per cent, so Daniel Andrews is short-changing Victorians. We are at record levels of bulk billing. GP bulk-billing rates have increased from 82 per cent in Labor's last year in government to 85.8 per cent. Let's look at the 2016-17 financial year compared with Labor's last year in government. There were 21.6 million more bulk-billed GP visits and 1.9 million more bulk-billed specialist visits.

A big part of the 2018-19 budget was securing essential services. We know how to run the economy. We know how to grow the economy. We are increasing revenue, meaning we can spend more on essential services, we can deliver tax relief, we can get back to a surplus and we can pay more for health care. Indeed, that enables us to guarantee Medicare with an additional $4.8 billion over forward estimates. It means Spinraza and Kisqali— important things—are listed on the PBS to help local constituents in Dunkley. (Time expired)