Media Release

02 May 2017

Wooldridge: Taxes up 20% but better health services overlooked

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Taxes up 20% but better health services overlooked

Daniel Andrews has now announced ten new taxes but little of that money is being spent on improving Victoria’s health care.

Our state’s population has grown by around 300,000 which means many of our hospitals need to be upgraded to meet increasing demand.  But despite record tax increases of over 20%, Daniel Andrews is holding money back so he can go on a vote buying exercise for next year’s election.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital, which is being held together with chicken wire, has not even received planning funding for the urgently needed redevelopment. Instead Daniel Andrews has allocated funding for some repairs, to keep the hospital standing in the absence of redevelopment investment.

The $135 million promised for the Victorian Heart Hospital last year, but only delivered in contingency, has disappeared from this budget. Daniel Andrews’ promised completion date of 2018 will pass before the sod is even turned.

Footscray Hospital operates with closed wards that are no longer fit for purpose and urgently requires capital investment. Following investment in repairs and planning 12 months ago, Daniel Andrews is desperately trying to buy time by further investing in planning and repairs. Western Health urgently requires redevelopment to continue to effectively serve Melbourne’s west.

Monash Children’s Hospital opened last month without a dedicated paediatric emergency department. In an attempt to address his irresponsible decision, Daniel Andrews announced a children’s space in the adult emergency department, which today’s budget reveals will not even be delivered until 2022. Victoria is 5 years away from children being treated at Monash Medical Centre in the dedicated and specialist paediatric emergency space they need.

Ballarat Health still has not been funded to fit out their empty floor with operating theatres despite elective surgery waiting lists blowing out 59% under this Government. In addition, completion of their new Cardiac Catheterisation Lab has blown out by 18 months and is not estimated to be complete until December 2018. This time last year the government proclaimed that this investment would save lives in Ballarat where the rate of cardiovascular disease is the highest in Victoria. 12 months on, the government has dragged their feet on this regional commitment.

This is consistent with the government’s neglect of rural and regional health services in Victoria. There are urgent capital investment needs in Gippsland including Warragul and Latrobe Regional Hospital, but this region has received no investment in this Melbourne-centric budget.

There is a $177 million blow out in Ambulance costs in 2016/17 attributed to the wage increases from the paramedic work value case. This has resulted in significant wage increases but a decline in number of patients transported.

Better Care Victoria, has once again received a single, 12 month investment. For the second year in a row this Government has failed to demonstrate any commitment to its own new agency. This new body has been tasked with fostering innovation – an impossible task without the financial support or confidence of the government that established it.

This budget has failed to deliver leadership or needed investment, instead continuing to plug leaky holes with band-aid repair funding.”