QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE AND MINISTERS STATEMENTS Ministers statements: federal health funding

Mr PALLAS (Treasurer) (12:29:20) — I rise to update the house about a threat facing Victoria’s health system: the federal Liberal government.

In our last budget this government invested an additional $1.67 billion in our hospitals to meet demand and also to cut elective surgery waiting times. After years of neglect by the opposition what we are seeing is Victoria’s health system finally getting the attention it deserves and, might I say, a minister committed to its consistent improvement. But now, not content with the damage that their counterparts managed in four years when they occupied the government benches in this place, the federal Liberal government, led by the Prime Minister of Sydney, has now put in place a plan to cut $2.1 billion from Victorian hospitals. This can all be summed up quite simply: that whilst Labor cuts wait and response times, the Liberals just cut.

Let us not forget what happened to ambulance services in this state while those opposite were in government. They attacked workers, they cut funding, and response times soared. We promised we would end the war on paramedics, and that is exactly what we did. As a result Victoria is now enjoying strong improvements in terms of ambulance response times, with of course 450 additional paramedics. The federal Liberal government has form when it comes to Victoria. They see it as a place to save money not spend it, using Victoria and Victorians as the milking cow of the Federation. The incompetence of the federal government knows no bounds. In fact it seems that the only sackable offence for a minister in Canberra is funding infrastructure in Victoria. Not content with short-changing us on roads and schools, they are now putting the health of Victorians at risk. This is a cheap jack stunt.