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Better than nothing but not good enough.

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Shadow Minister for Health Manager of Opposition Business

3 June 2005


The review of health commissioned by COAG today is certainly better than nothing but nowhere near good enough.

At best this is a piecemeal review which is not what either the Productivity Commission or the OECD called for in terms of our health system. Worst still it is a bureaucrats’ review which will not reach out to and include the Australian people.

More than 40 professional health groups have said our health system needs urgent reform but the Prime Minister is not convinced or perhaps he is just not convinced his Health Minister is up to the task

The State Premiers have fought consistently for a system-wide review and a comprehensive improvement to our health system. Labor promised such a review at the last Federal Election. Unfortunately, it has been made clear to the Premiers time and time again that the Howard Government isn’t prepared to match Labor’s determination to improve our health system.

Conservative estimates have already told us $1 billion a year is wasted in our health system as a result of duplication and blame gaming over what the Commonwealth funds and what the States fund.

In the last election campaign, the Minister for Health ran a fear campaign against health reform. Since then he has done nothing substantial except break his ‘rock solid, iron clad’ guarantee on the Medicare safety net.

The Prime Minister, sensing the incompetence of his Minister for Health, intervened and created the Podger Review which was to investigate the ‘state of the health system.’ But the Podger Review has been shelved and all its findings kept secret.

Now the Prime Minister has agreed to another review. It will take pressure from the States and those who care about health to make sure this review doesn’t end up going the same way as the Podger Review.

3 June 2005

For more information contact: Kimberley Gardiner 0401 533 002