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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3456 ..

made great gains in the form of a new walk-in centre, extra subacute care, new operating theatres and extra elective surgery procedures.

That is what has already been delivered through our strong commonwealth public service and our focused federal Labor government. If Tony Abbott had his way, all this would never happen and he would seek to put us in a black hole of doom. I am sure that is not where we want to go as far as our health system is concerned, Mr Hanson.

All we need to do is never forget that as health minister, Mr Abbott cut $1 billion from public hospitals, enough to fund more than 1,000 beds. He also froze GP training numbers and we are now, of course, seeing the fruits of that. Mr Hanson bangs on about GP shortages in this place all the time. We have only got to look back on what Mr Abbott did to our hospitals and our GPs to know why we are in this situation now. He is now proposing further deep health cuts, including eliminating GP superclinics, which will hurt 400 communities and cut our after-hours GP hotline.

In contrast, what Labor has been actively working at is catching up from when Mr Abbott left off. We are working on a plan to make the nation’s health system the best it can be. We know that health costs in the ACT are growing considerably faster than the growth in the GST revenue. As the rate of growth in health costs, historically 9.5 per cent in the ACT, continues to substantially outstrip the rate of growth in GST revenues, historically a 6.8 per cent pool growth, the territory budget will come under increasing pressure, as will the health budgets for all states and territories.

The first tranche of Labor health reforms provides for the growth wedge in favour of the territory, in that the rate of growth in the ACT GST revenues to be dedicated to health spending is less than the rate of growth in health costs. The federal Labor government has already guaranteed under the agreement top-up payments to states and territories totalling $15.6 billion from 2014-15 to 2019-20. This means that beyond the budget, between 2014 and 2015 and 2019 and 2020, the ACT will share in a guaranteed $15.6 billion for health growth funding. This is locked into the agreement. But alas, this will all be gone under Mr Abbott. ACT Treasury modelling and projections indicate that the annual benefit would rise to about $150 million by 2019-20. Again, this will all be gone under Mr Abbott.

In addition to the long-term reforms outlined in the agreement, the Australian government will deliver approximately $7.3 billion in additional funding over five years aimed at delivering immediate health and hospital service improvements. This will all be gone under Mr Abbott. The health system will gain an additional $111.7 million from these immediate investments under the agreement. This includes $71.8 million to reduce emergency department waiting times, the provision of additional elective surgery procedures and reduced waiting times, the provision of extra subacute hospital beds under the national partnership for improving public hospital services, and making available an additional $39.9 million to provide a range of services, including health workforce measures to support doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and funding for aged care.

If Mr Abbott has his way, there will be no more health reforms, along with 12,000 jobs that he will cut from the public service. A large chunk of these will be gone from

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