PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra: I rise to condemn in the strongest possible terms the federal government’s cut of $107 million to the Victorian health system. In my own electorate of Aston, local residents will suffer because, as a result of these cuts, Eastern Health has been forced to announce that they will reduce services at Wantirna Health and the Angliss Hospital.
Eastern Health has had a cut of $8.4 million to its budget announced suddenly, out of the blue by this government, which this means Wantirna Health will have to close immediately five palliative care beds. The Angliss Hospital just down the road in the electorate of LaTrobe will also have to close five surgical beds immediately. Also affected will be community and mental health programs such as the Crisis Assessment Team which services my electorate and other areas. We of course know that they have also cut funding to the Royal Childrens Hospital and to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, causing beds to close there also. These are premier institutions, not only in Victoria but worldwide. I find it astounding that the government can spend $110 million on carbon tax promotion, but at the same time has to cut $107 million from vital services in our community. The government has got its priorities entirely wrong here and it is starting to hurt residents of Victoria.