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Mr Beattie should put patients first and sign-up to record hospital offer.



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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

August 16, 2003

MR BEATTIE SHOULD PUT PATIENTS FIRST AND SIGN-UP TO RECORD HOSPITAL OFFER

Queenslanders deserve better than a Premier who wastes his taxpayers’ money on misleading advertising about the Federal Government’s record hospital funding deal for his State.

Premier Peter Beattie has blatantly misrepresented the Commonwealth’s record $8 billion funding offer to Queensland in a full-page advertisement in a national newspaper today.

Queensland will get $2.1 billion more than it did under the previous health care agreement to fund their public hospitals - a massive 20% rise over and above inflation.

Yet Mr Beattie is trying to hoodwink Queenslanders into believing that the State will get $160 million less funding. A $2.1 billion increase cannot be a cut in funding.

Instead of wasting Queenslanders’ money on the misleading advertisement, which would have cost $50,000 or more, Mr Beattie should put the patients in his State first instead of "Canberra bashing".

He should sign-up to the Federal Government’s record $42 billion hospital funding offer to the States and Territories. This is a $10 billion increase over the previous five-year agreement - a 17% rise over and above inflation.

Mr Beattie has had since April to sign-up for the record funding offer. He has refused.

In the interests of accountability and transparency, he must now tell his fellow Queenslanders how much he intends to spend on State hospitals over the next five years.

The Queensland public requires a guarantee from Mr Beattie to at least match the Federal Government's funding growth to ensure that Queensland’s State hospitals can plan ahead and meet their patients’ needs with confidence.

The Federal Government has put its money on the table. Patients in Queensland can be assured that the Federal Government has given a commitment to the State’s public hospitals for the next five years. The hospitals and those who use them can be certain that funding has been allocated to assist in the proper management of the State hospital system.

We are calling on Mr Beattie to tell the Queensland public what he will spend on the State’s public hospitals over the next five years.

And he should match the rate of growth in funding by the Commonwealth. If the Commonwealth is going to put an extra $2.1 billion into Queensland public hospitals, it is only reasonable to expect the Queensland Government to contribute its fair share.

The States and Territories should sign the record hospital funding offer. Then we can all get on with the top priority of driving important reforms to the health system.

I am committed to work with the States and Territories to deliver better health outcomes for patients.

Media inquiries: Randal Markey, Media Adviser, Senator Patterson's office, 02 6277 7220.