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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 3284

Mr McVEIGH (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister for Social Security: How much of the extra income tax levy as 1.35 per cent of taxable income will be channelled to other States of the Commonwealth from Queensland? Does the Minister agree that Queenslanders are being penalised because other States have higher private and intermediate ward charges in public hospitals?

Mr HAYDEN (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Social Security) - Starting with the last part of the honourable member's question I point out to him that the fees which would be contributed by patients in public hospitals as private or intermediate patients are subtracted from the total operating cost. It is a SO per cent cost sharing basis on the remainder that we enter into. If we are to accept the present situation, and I assume that the honourable member thinks that we will accept the present situation of the differential of fees in public hospitals between the States, quite clearly a large windfall will go to Queensland at the expense of other States. If he reads the White Paper he will see that there are proposals to set at a common level intermediate and private ward fees. So that part of his question does not stand in fact, although I point out to him it was based on fallacious assumptions.

In regard to the amount of money going to Queensland I would have thought that it would have been obvious to the honourable member that if there is an increase of $80m in the amount of money going from the Australian Government to the State governments in support of their public hospital systems over what they would have received under the present system if it were operating next year and that if Queensland, as it will, receives $3Sm additional to what it would have received, which is nearly half, with much less than half of the population of the Commonwealth in that State generating much, much less than half of the taxable income in the Commonwealth, Queensland is getting a redistribution of income from the other States. Queensland is being very fairly dealt with. I suggest that the honourable member should not try to make an issue of it or other States might want to review the situation.

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