Page 1704 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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We know that there are similar stories across Australia. We know, for example, that the Liberal New South Wales Premier and his treasurer, Ms Berejiklian, have made comments this morning saying that the cuts to health and education remain and that they are the most significant concerns held by the New South Wales government, the largest state in the commonwealth. What has Mr Baird said about this? He said:

The states do not have the capacity to meet those health costs on their own. The commonwealth has a critical role to play. It’s not sustainable, to pass that health cost, which is the biggest cost to every state budget, down—that is the number one issue, we need to ensure the federal government deals with.

Last night Joe Hockey—I beg your pardon; Treasurer Hockey—and Prime Minister Abbott failed to do so. They failed to do so. Instead, they passed the buck to the ACT. They passed the buck to everyone who is going to need hospital services over the next decade and they said, “You are on your own.” Well, that is not good enough. It is not good enough. Those commitments should be honoured.

The federal government should make a fair contribution to the funding of public hospitals here in the ACT and right across the country. The Chief Minister and I will be advocating at all of the forums where we have the opportunity to do so to have this issue addressed. We will stand up for Canberra. We will not be apologists for the cuts to hospitals—

MADAM SPEAKER: The member’s time has expired.

MR CORBELL: that we see from those opposite.

MADAM SPEAKER: Sit down, Mr Corbell. A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, can you tell the Assembly what the government is doing to protect the health of ACT residents as a result of the commonwealth budget?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his supplementary. The first thing we will do to stand up and protect the health of ACT residents is that we will not be apologists for the Abbott government’s cuts. Unlike those opposite, unlike Mr Hanson, who likes to insist that these cuts actually did not ever happen, that they had no impact on ACT hospitals, we will not be apologists for these cuts. We will stand up to the federal government, along with Mike Baird, along with the Premier of Queensland, the Premier of Victoria, the Premier of South Australia, the Premier of Western Australia, the Premier of Tasmania and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory—and, of course, our Chief Minister. We will stand up, and we will say to the federal government that these cuts cannot stand.

We will also continue to make the very significant investments that we are making in the health service here in the ACT. We will continue to invest in additional beds in our public hospital system. We have, as a government, grown beds from the paltry number that we inherited when we first came to government to over 1,100 beds. Compared to the 670 that were being cut back under the former Liberal government,

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