News

State health ministers raise concerns with Tanya Plibersek

A $1.2-BILLION hole in payments promised to the states and territories to deliver health services has reignited tensions between conservative state governments and the Gillard government.

Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg and his New South Wales' counterpart Jillian Skinner raised their concerns about the payments during a health ministers' meeting with Federal Minister Tanya Plibersek in Perth on Friday.

While the federal May budget projected more than $67.883 billion would be given to the states for health services, that figure fell $1.2 billion to $66.5 billion in the government's October mid-year budget update.

In Queensland, where the state budget was based on the May figures, the $387 million shortfall will leave the State's health system with about $13.5 billion over the next four years, down from $13.9 billion in May.

South of the border in NSW, the more populated state will see a cut of $601 million to the Commonwealth payments, down to $20.965 billion from the May estimate of $21.566 billion.

Despite the fall in the estimates, the total amount the Commonwealth will give the states for health will still grow by 21% over the forward estimates.

But the shortfall has infuriated state health ministers, some of whom attacked the Federal Government in statements sent out before the Perth meeting.

Mr Springborg said despite agreeing on a formula with the Federal Government, the Commonwealth was applying the formula inappropriately.

The formula was based on Australian Bureau of Statistics Census figures on population growth, which were released between the May budget and the mid-year update in October.

The ABS estimates showed that while the population was still expected to grow, the rate of growth across the country would be slower than first thought.

Mr Springborg said the he understood the shortfall was not Ms Plibersek's fault, but a "strategy" of Treasurer Wayne Swan to bump up the budget surplus.

"The reality is that population growth is still growing in Queensland, and while all states and territories are working with tighter budgets, this is going to mean $347 million of services won't be delivered," he said.

"That comes on top of a cut to another payment of $40 million to special purpose payments to Queensland - much of which has already been spent.

"So now it's going to be the people on our local hospital and health boards that are going to have to find a way to find that saving across the board."

But Ms Plibersek said the Queensland and NSW governments had cut their own state health budgets by $1.6 billion and $3 billion respectively this year.

"I understand why those health ministers are defensive about it, but it's not fair to look for someone else to blame," she said.

"That formula has three elements to it. It has an element that's based on population, it has an element that's based on health price inflation and it's got a technology element as well."

Asked whether Queensland was wrong to use the Federal Government's May Budget to help calculate the state budget, a minister's spokesman said "No".

Ms Plibersek said all state and territory government had signed up to using that formula to calculate the funding levels, during an October meeting before the change of government in Queensland.

Topics:  health, jillian skinner, lawrence springborg, tanya plibersek



Teenager airlifted off Fraser Island after falling ill

A teenage boy has been airlifted off Fraser Island.

A teenager has been airlifted off Fraser Island.

NEW BUSINESS: SIP espresso bar already has plans to grow

The new SIP espresso bar in Maryborough is becoming a popular stop for locals.

It catches anyone from early morning tradesmen to hospital staff

Backpacker tax scrapped as changes bite on farmers

Rob Bauer of Bauer's Organic Farm. The farm has launched a paddock-to-plate online shop. Photo: LucyRC Photography

BREAKING: Farmers breathe sigh of relief

Local Partners

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

Kate goes down fighting in heated Survivor elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Kate Campbell.

YOGA teacher's 'good guys' alliance fails to get off the ground.

Emily Blunt's (almost) singing career

Emily Blunt nearly became the British Britney Spears.

Angelina is blocking calls from Brad Pritt

Angelina Jolie has reportedly blocked Brad Pitt's number.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Property leader says Fraser Coast market is looking up

Positivity is the buzz word in the Fraser Coast housing market

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual