Health Care

Along with the honourable member for Newcastle, I too rise to speak about health. The government's policies on health, as communicated so clearly through the priorities in the May budget, are diabolical, short-sighted and ill-informed. The policies make no sense. They are bad for health and they are bad economics. If this government and this health minister were capable of listening to the experts or the public, they would know both those things.

The policies, despite promises of no cuts to health, will see a GP tax, a tax on imaging and tests, more expensive medicines, an undermining of general practitioner business models, an undermining of our universal primary healthcare model and—the icing on the cake—a $50 billion cut to hospitals. The release today of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare annual report on health funding blows their feeble justifications around sustainability out of the water. It in fact proves that Labor's health and hospitals reform agreement with all states and territories, as well as substantial investment in health and medical research, was possible without leading to unsustainable health costs. It proves that investments in facilities like the $30 million invested in the Catherine McAuley subacute rehab centre at the Werribee Mercy Hospital were on the money. Creating and funding the staffing and running investments like this are exactly what the health system needs. When will this health minister and this PM admit to the errors of their ways?

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