Morrison unveils $1.25 billion health funding plan
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $1.25 billion funding boost for health care
The Morrison government has announced an extra $1.25 billion in health care funding, as it tries to nullify Federal Labor accusations of deep cuts to hospitals and health services.
The $1.25 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program is set to fund projects and services in every state and territory, including cancer treatment, chronic disease programs, drug and alcohol clinics and mental health services.
Scott Morrison will take the plan to premiers and chief ministers in Adelaide on Wednesday at his first Council of Australian Governments meeting as Prime Minister.
Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews welcomed the additional funding but stressed it needed to be put in context of some “pretty savage” cuts.
Andrews said $2 billion in federal funding had been slashed from Victoria’s health system under the coalition government.
“Yes $1.25 billion in extra funding is good but we should put it in the context of some very big cutbacks we’ve seen to health and hospital funding – and therefore health and hospital services – made by the now Morrison minority government over the last five years,” he told ABC radio.
The cash injection comes as the Commonwealth tries to convince Victoria and Queensland to sign onto a new hospital funding deal.
The Labor states are refusing to ink the national agreement, arguing it does not offer enough new cash.
The Prime Minister is also attempting to blunt one of Federal Labor’s most potent campaign attack lines by throwing big money at health.
The coalition program is about $500 million more over four years than Labor’s proposed “Better Hospitals” fund.
“We are investing more in health and hospitals than at any other time and this is the best set of funding that any premiers have ever seen,” Morrison told reporters in Adelaide.
Federal opposition health spokeswoman, Catherine King, said after five years of “relentless” public hospital cuts, Mr Morrison could not be trusted to deliver on extra funding.
“This tricky announcement does not match Labor’s funding, and it does not reverse the savage cuts that Scott Morrison has inflicted on every public hospital in Australia,” King said.
“Their health promises aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.”
Projects covered under Mr Morrison’s scheme include specialist services such as cancer treatment, rural health infrastructure, drug and alcohol treatment, disease management and mental health.
Ahead of the national leaders meeting, Morrison has also asked each of the states and territories to nominate areas to send new migrants.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants more international students to go to the regions, with figures showing 98.8 per cent of the state’s 220,000 higher education students in Sydney.
The state is also calling for “complete discretion” on where federal infrastructure funding is spent, more migration data, and more say on where migrants go.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall wants more international students, skilled migrants and to retain more school leavers and university graduates.