Victoria Minister for Health David Davis
Tanya Plibersek Caught Out On Canberra’s Savage Hospital Cuts
Victor P Taffa
Commonwealth Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has been caught out by documents from her own Gillard Government that disclose savage funding cuts will be delivered to public hospitals around Australia.
The bombshell Treasury documents show that Minister Plibersek’s claim that there will be no cuts to health funding is wrong.
“The Treasury email says the savage cuts will strip $403.5 Million from hospitals in this financial year, which exposes as a myth Minister Plibersek’s posturing last week about there being no Federal cuts to the National Health Agreements.” Victorian Health Minister David Davis said.
The Commonwealth is positioning itself to pull back $1.6 Billion from the promised $16.4 Billion funding to the states over the next four years. The $16.4 Billion deal was a central promise in the Health Agreement signed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the states.
A table in an email from the Federal Treasury outlines the cuts in each State, and sets out the timetable of how funding will be clawed back from November or December and through the rest of the financial year.
“These cuts come after our hospital budgets have been set and will lead to cuts being focused in the last six months of the financial year.” Mr. Davis said.
“Minister Plibersek’s statement that there are no Commonwealth cuts to hospitals reflects either an attempt to mislead the public or a lack of knowledge about what her own Treasury colleagues are doing to funding.”
“Isn’t she supposed to be Health Minister, and isn’t she supposed to know what’s happening in her own portfolio?”
Mr. Davis said the Commonwealth Treasury cuts were based on a shonky reading of Australian Bureau of Statistics population data.
“Minister Plibersek has backed herself into a corner and endorsed Treasury claims that the Australian population grew by just 0.03 % and that the Victorian population actually fell by 11,000 last year.” Mr. Davis said.
“Both claims are clearly false. The official ABS statistics show the Australian population grew by 1.4 % and the Victorian population grew by 75,000.
“This shonky population fiddle is designed to prop up the Commonwealth Budget, but it cuts hospital spending from what was outlined in the Canberra Budget in May.”
“Minister Plibersek has further boasted that there will be growth in Federal health funding in future years but we need to take that with a grain of salt as well.”
“Will it ever be delivered, and can we have confidence that Minister Plibersek can deliver it when she doesn’t even know what her Treasury officials are telling the states?”
“Given that Canberra can’t even be trusted to deliver the money they promised in the Budget six months ago, promises about better times in the distant future are not worth the paper they are written on.”
“Patients will be the losers from Tanya Plibersek’s savage cuts to hospitals.”
Mr. Davis said people would wait longer, fewer services would be delivered and people least able to pay would be disadvantaged by Canberra’s cash cuts.
“These $1.6 Billion cuts to hospitals cuts which have been confirmed by Treasury despite the protestations of the Minister are just one part of the Gillard Government’s savage cuts to health.” Mr. Davis said.
“Tanya Plibersek will go down in history as the biggest ever cutter of health funding in Australia. It’s not a record to be proud of.”