darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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December 17, 2012

State Labor’s support for the Federal Government’s removal of $750,000 from East Gippsland hospitals has been slammed by local MP’s Tim Bull and Darren Chester.

If distributed pro-rata, the cuts will see funding of $640,000 for Bairnsdale Regional Health Service, $84,000 for Orbost Regional Health and $23,000 for Omeo District Health Service removed as part of a broader $3.68 million health service funding cut across Gippsland.

Last week in State Parliament, Eastern Victoria Upper House Members Matt Viney and Johan Scheffer voted against a motion expressing concern at the cuts.

Mr Bull said both members should visit East Gippsland and explain the cuts to local residents in Bairnsdale, Orbost and Omeo.

“I’ve spoken to a number of local health service representatives who have expressed concern over the cuts and what impacts there will be as a result of the reduction in support and I had the impacts faced by Orbost and Omeo health services raised in State Parliament last week,” Mr Bull said.

“Mr Viney and Mr Scheffer have taken out advertisements in Gippsland papers claiming Ted Baillieu has turned his back on Gippsland with massive cuts to health services, when in fact the State has boosted its contribution to the health budget by $1.3 billion.

“The Health Minister has confirmed that the Federal Government has already started removing $107 million from Victorian hospitals this year, as part of a $475 million cut across the nation over the course of the next four years.

“The Office of the Independent Administrator of the National Health Funding Pool also confirmed in writing a week ago that the Commonwealth has already started cutting State funding.

“Six State Health Ministers, representing both sides of politics have voiced their concerns. Labor Health Ministers from Tasmania and South Australia are standing up for their States, their hospitals and their patients, but Labor in Victoria is not concerned and supports the cuts being made from Canberra.”

Mr Chester reiterated that the Gillard Labor Government is making the cuts to bring its promised surplus to fruition.

“Despite knowing that the nation’s finances haven’t been managed properly, State Labor is prepared to support reductions in health services so that it can prop up the Gillard Labor Government’s effort to achieve a surplus,” Mr Chester said.

“The Gillard Labor Government is claiming Victoria’s population fell by more than 11,000 in 2011 as a reason for the cuts but the Commonwealth Statistician says there was a population increase of 75,400 in 2011.

“State Labor has shown clear disregard for the health of East Gippsland families by supporting these cuts which are retrospective and ongoing, meaning they will not only impact on current services but also the future health needs of the local community.

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