Healthcare Updates

22 Aug 2018 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby) (16:07): I am pleased to speak in this matter of public importance debate today because I am proud of our government's record on health. I congratulate the Minister for Health and the Minister for Aged Care on their incredible work in this portfolio. They are doing an excellent job of listening to what the Australian people need.

Like the ministers, I'm also listening to my community and my local residents as to what they need on health. Because we are listening I worked very closely with the Minister for Health to see the delivery of a national action plan and, so far, more than $4.7 million of federal funding towards endometriosis. Minister Wyatt joined me in my electorate to listen to senior members of my community talk about the issues that are most important to them, and we are working with them as well to deliver in the aged-care space.

It is unsurprising that those opposite want to talk down our contribution to health, but our record speaks for itself. We are achieving record funding for our healthcare system in Australia. In the 2018-19 budget we announced a $2.4 billion investment for new medicines to be listed on the PBS, including $1 billion set aside for the provision of future medicines. In fact, since coming to government we have listed, on average, one new medicine per day. These are often lifesaving medications. So far we've had an overall investment of $9 billion, which is a very significant investment.

Federal funding for public hospitals under the coalition has increased from $13.3 billion in 2013-14 to a record $22.7 billion in 2020-21. This is a 70 per cent increase. Under a new national hospitals agreement, the government has committed an additional $30.2 billion in public hospital funding from 2020-21 to 2024-25, taking overall funding during this period to $130 billion. This means more hospital services, more doctors, more nurses and increased funding every year for every state and territory. This is what responsible governments do.

In stark comparison, those opposite have a terrible track record on health both at the state and federal levels. Nobody knows this better than I do, because I come from the state of South Australia where we saw the state Labor government make one of the most disgraceful decisions of their 16 years in government when they decided to shut down the iconic Repat Hospital. This was devastating to veterans not just in my community but across South Australia.

Ms Burney: Take your hand off your heart!

Ms FLINT: If the member opposite actually cared to do a quick google on this issue, she would realise how devastating it was to these veterans, particularly our Vietnam veterans, to have this hospital shut down. It was also devastating to the senior members of my community, who regularly used this hospital, and to so many people whose loved ones had passed away in the hospice over decades. It's a much-loved hospital, which is why I worked so hard with the now member for Elder, the member for Waite, the minister for health and the now premier, Steven Marshall, to see the state Liberal government commit to reactivate and reopen the Repat.

I'm so proud that the now South Australian Liberal government committed to reopening operating theatres to reduce elective surgery waiting times, and to reopening the hydrotherapy pool, which has already happened, for veterans in my community to be able to use. They committed to using Ward 18 as an older persons' mental health facility to care for those people who suffered so badly at Oakden, under the disgraceful treatment by the previous state Labor government, and they also committed to building a new older persons' mental health facility.

The Marshall Liberal government have consulted with health professionals as to what else they can do with this wonderful, iconic community hospital site. Last week they commenced community consultation to find out what other services my local residents would like to see reopened on the site. I would encourage all of the members of my local community to have their say as to what they would like to see returned to the Repat site. They have until 16 September to provide submissions on the future of the site. Following this consultation, the state Liberal government will collate all of the feedback and release a final master plan by the end of the year. This is what Liberal governments do. We govern responsibly, we keep community health services where they need to be and we listen to our community.