Monday, 23 November 2009
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister’s broken promise to fix public hospitals by 30 June 2009. Will the Prime Minister identify one of Australia’s 762 public hospitals that has been fixed?
I thank the honourable member for Parkes for his question. I would draw his attention to one core fact and that is that, under the Australian Health Care agreement signed by the Minister for Health and Ageing at the end of last year, we increased the allocation for health and hospitals by 50 per cent, against that which we inherited from the previous government. Secondly, I say in response to the honourable member’s question that it stands in stark contrast to the $1 billion that he and his government pulled out of the public hospital system of Australia. To put that into context, what we inherited in an Australian healthcare agreement was $42 billion—
That was the missing member for—what seat was he going for on the Gold Coast?—McPherson. He is still in search of a political home, our good friend the member for Dickson. I am sure the locals hold him in fond regard as he goes quietly slinking back to Brisbane’s north side, having been rejected on the south side. We always welcome his contributions to the debate.
In public hospitals in various parts of the country, for the first time what we have done is provided a direct investment in elective surgery. We have provided, for the first time, a direct investment in bringing down the waiting times for people in accident and emergency. For the first time, we have provided a direct investment in post-acute services. These are the investments that we have made, and the overall healthcare agreement increased from some $40 billion to something like $64 billion for the five years ahead. They take a billion dollars out; we put $20 billion-plus back in over that period. And they stand up and say, ‘Where is your plan?’ That is what we have done so far. Phase 2 of our reform is for the long-term, the next 25 years. Our program for implementing it is getting on.