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



Top award winner appreciates valuable help

Ipswich Knights Player of the Year Lucas Wilson with team physio Shingo Sakai.

Physio keeps Knights player on the field

Car collides with police vehicle while on the run

The Queensland Police Polair 2 helicopter, which will begin operations from July 5, 2014.

Polair has been called in again after a driver evaded police.

LETTER: Time to give Muslims a fair go in our letters

Muslim Woman pray and Beautiful background.

I am at a loss to understand how Muslims are holding us ransom

Local Partners

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Daniel Radcliffe hoped for haircut anonymity

Radcliffe thought shaving his head would make him more anonymous

Jim Carrey slams 'shameful greed' of lawsuit

Jim Carrey has slammed the "shameful greed" of White's ex-husband.

'Highly unlikely' Brad Pitt will face prosecution

It is highly unlikely that Brad Pitt will be prosecuted

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released

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