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Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Page: 4135


Mr TED O'BRIEN (Fairfax) (14:47): My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister outline to the House how a stronger economy enables the government to invest in the health of Australians and does the minister know of any alternatives?

Mr Hill interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bruce is warned!

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (14:48): I want to thank the member for Fairfax. As somebody who is expert in business, he knows that it's fundamental to have a strong economy to deliver essential services. If you have a plan for an economy and you deliver a million jobs, that's how you're able to deliver outcomes such as support for the Thompson Institute, which I visited only two weeks ago with the member and his counterpart the member for Fisher to support additional mental health services—real services to Australians on the Sunshine Coast. But a strong economy also means we can deliver record funding for Medicare, with an additional $4.8 billion; record funding for aged care, with an additional $5 billion; and record funding for PBS drugs, with an additional $2.4 billion of investment in new medicines such as those which the Treasurer has outlined.

But, of course, it means we can invest more in our hospitals and achieve record funding which the Prime Minister has outlined. There is an additional $30 billion over the course of the next five-year agreement—something that you could never do without a strong economy. What is also fundamental here is that, in this budget, we are delivering that support for hospitals. The funding will go from $21 billion to $22 billion, to $23 billion and to $24 billion a year—a record for each state and territory, every year of the budget. So that's what's actually happening.

But I did see a fascinating thing. I saw a press conference from the shadow minister for health at Caboolture Hospital where she was asserting, falsely and incorrectly, that there had been cuts to funding from the Commonwealth. And it's been broadcast elsewhere, by the Labor Party on their billboards and by the Leader of the Opposition. We will call out Labor's lies. Let me refer to it specifically. I did, over the weekend, go through Queensland activity based funding through the national health funding pool comparing Commonwealth and state funding. I know, I should get another hobby, but what that showed is that, over the last three years, Queensland funding to its own hospitals went up eight per cent. Over the last three years, Commonwealth funding to Queensland hospitals went up 29 per cent. And in the area where Caboolture is located, including the royal Brisbane hospital, Queensland funding over the last three years went up by four per cent; Commonwealth funding went up by 38 per cent—a more than ninefold rate of increase. But most fascinating of all was that in the last year Commonwealth funding to the metro-north area went up $120 million, and what happened to Queensland funding to its own hospitals in metro-north? It went down by $21 million. (Time expired)