'Fix Our Hospitals' campaign launched in Gladstone
GLADSTONE was chosen as the launching pad for Federal Labor's latest campaign yesterday - a push to boost the Federal Government's share of public hospital funding.
The campaign was officially kicked off by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Health spokeswoman Catherine King and Flynn candidate Zac Beers at Gladstone Hospital.
Mr Shorten said arrangements currently in place - with the Federal Government funding 45 per cent of state hospital budgets until 2020 - amounted to $6.1 million less reaching Central Queensland hospitals than what would have been provided under the last agreement reached with the states.
That number includes $950,000 that would have been provided to Gladstone Hospital between 2017-2020, Mr Shorten said.
"Hard-working doctors, nurses and staff at Gladstone Hospital are already overstretched and under-resourced - and every dollar of funding Turnbull cuts will only make this worse," Mr Shorten said.
"Gladstone residents already have to travel to Rockhampton for many surgeries.
"It says it all about Turnbull's priorities that he is happy to give big business a tax handout but won't properly fund Central Queensland's public hospitals and give locals the health care they need."
LNP MP Ken O'Dowd wasted no time in calling the campaign "scare tactics" and criticising the Opposition Leader for authorising unsolicited "robo-calls" to Gladstone residents on Sunday evening.
"Bill is at it again. He has form when it comes to scare tactics around health and we all remember the ALP's 'Medi-Scare' campaign in 2016," Mr O'Dowd said.
He pointed to a raw dollar value increase in Commonwealth funding of Queensland Health, from $2.8 billion in 2013-2014 under the last Labor Government to $4.8 billion in 2020-2021.
"State Governments run our public hospital services NOT the Commonwealth Government," Mr O'Dowd said.
"We know we're keeping (funding) over and above inflation, it's up to the State Government to slice and dice it and distribute it to the hospitals that are under their control."