National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospitals

I rise today to commend the former Labor government's National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospitals, which has come to fruition today in my electorate. This morning was the official opening of the Werribee Mercy Hospital's rehabilitation centre. This $28 million COAG funded project comprises 30 specialist subacute beds, a gymnasium and a two-storey community rehabilitation centre to service Melbourne south-west.

The Werribee Mercy funding was part of a $36 million injection into western suburbs hospitals, which has also funded an operating theatre at Williamstown Hospital and short-stay beds at Sunshine and Western hospitals. Unable to attend the opening this morning, I was disappointed to hear that state Minister for Health David Davis and MLC Andrew Elsbury have a press release that does not give credit where credit is due and attempts to diminish the role of the previous Labor federal government in securing this project. They are of the same stripe as the government across, causing anxiety about health funding and health costs in my electorate. Families in our region could be forced to pay $6 every time they visit their doctor if the Abbott government breaks yet another election promise and introduces a GP tax. In our community, with a bulk-billing rate of nearly 91 per cent, $6 a visit would cost local residents more than $7.5 million every year. This will hurt my community and be a further hit to the most vulnerable.

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