Record hospital funding in South Australia

26 Feb 2018 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby) (15:06): My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister outline to the House how the Turnbull government's strong economic record enables us to deliver record hospital funding support for South Australia, including in my electorate of Boothby? Is the minister aware of an alternative approach which weakens the delivery of services for patients?


Mr HUNT (Flinders—Minister for Health) (15:07): I want to thank the member for Boothby, who, as we know, is a proud graduate of Flinders University but was dismayed when the Flinders University medical centre had the lights turned out and embryos were destroyed due to a power failure under Labor's watch.

She asked about strong economic management and what that has allowed us to do as a government, in terms of delivering record funding to South Australia. What we have seen under this government is a 26 per cent increase in Commonwealth funding to South Australian hospitals. What we have seen over the same period of time from the South Australian Labor government is a six per cent increase in South Australian funding to their own hospitals. Six per cent under them; 26 per cent under us.

In her own electorate, however, in the electorate of Boothby, what we've seen is an even greater increase in Commonwealth funding of 31 per cent over that period of time. That only comes about when you run a strong economy and you run a careful budget, and you are able to pay for and deliver real increases in funding.

That is what has occurred on this side of the House. On the Labor side of the House, where they apologise on every occasion for every mistake of South Australian Labor, what we have seen is the extraordinary situation in the last full South Australian year where SA Labor actually decreased overall health expenditure by $7½ million. So whilst we are going through a period of growth
of half a billion dollars a year in funding to South Australian hospitals—half-a-billion-dollar increase—SA Labor actually decreased funding by $7½ million.

But it is even worse than that. We've seen the catastrophe of the Royal Adelaide Hospital: $640 million over budget, 17 months late. We've had the lights turned out on the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and only last week we saw that a prisoner was shackled for 48 hours to a bed in the emergency department.

Today we've seen another scandal in South Australia. On the front page of the Adelaide Advertiser today, it says, 'Mental health patients wait four days in Emergency Department because no beds were available in two Adelaide hospitals,' The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and, of course, the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

This is a livingnight mare for South Australian residents, who are seeing a government which cannot run the electricity system, which cannot run a budget and which cannot even run a hospital. Record funding from us, cuts from the South Australian Labor Party, cuts from the South Australian government—and it's time that this Labor Party stopped apologising for its hopeless mates in South Australia.