Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 May 2015) . . Page.. 1705 ..
1,100 beds have now been funded by this government. So we will continue to make those investments. We will continue to invest in better infrastructure, such as the University of Canberra public hospital. We will continue to invest in new adult mental health facilities. We will continue to invest in new services in the community. We will continue in the way we have in relation to maternity services and cancer care. That is this government’s commitment. (Time expired.)
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.
MS PORTER: Minister, how does the commonwealth budget specifically affect ACT public hospitals?
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for the supplementary. These cuts have a direct impact on Canberra’s public hospital services. Specifically, a decision to move away from activity-based funding to population-based funding will mean we do not get properly compensated from the commonwealth. Let us remember why we are compensated from the commonwealth—because it is a Medicare commitment, because each and every one of us is paying our Medicare levy and we are not getting the support that we should in return for those payments.
The Commonwealth is shifting away from activity-based funding to population-based funding. As our population ages—and we know how rapidly it is ageing—older Canberrans will need, on average, more occasions of care and more expensive occasions of care. Population-based funding does not account for that growth in demand in relation to activity. So it will have a direct impact on the capacity of our hospital budgets to meet increases in demand.
If there are going to be delays in our hospitals and if there are going to be longer waiting lists going out beyond 2017-18, over the rest of the decade, we need to be very clear that that will be due to the failure of the federal government to properly fund our hospital services by cutting out $600 million of projected funding for our public hospital services. They need to be held to account for their wanton failure to properly fund public hospital services here in the ACT.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.
MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how will you progress health priorities in mental health, overweight and obesity, and the health infrastructure program in the face of the commonwealth budget?
MR CORBELL: We remain committed to continuing to make the big investments that are needed in our public hospitals because, as a Labor administration, we care about public hospital services. We recognise they need to be invested in. We do not cut $600 million out of the health budget in the same way that Tony Abbott confirmed in his budget last night.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: I call the Leader of the Opposition to order again.