Extra Penalty Rates Penalise Health Care in Kerang and Cohuna

2 March 201

Hospitals and aged care facilities in the Murray Plains electorate are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional penalty rate payments this Easter Sunday following a decision by the Labor Government to declare it an official public holiday.

Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh has called on the Andrews Labor Government to urgently commit additional funding to ensure local health services can cover the unexpected cost of the penalty rates for the public holiday.

 “Hospitals and aged care facilities should not be using their operating budgets, funding that is allocated to provide vital health services, to cover this increase in employment cost due to Daniel Andrews’ decision to declare Easter Sunday a public holiday,” Mr Walsh said.

 “The Coalition Government provided funding for the 2014-15 financial year of $14.9 billion for Victorian hospitals and health services to meet the increasing health needs of our ageing and growing population. 

 “The Andrews Labor Government must ensure that health services are not forced to take funding away from important health services to cover increased staffing costs for its new public holidays.”

 The Victorian Healthcare Association estimates that a regional health service the size of Kerang is looking at an additional cost of approximately $19,000 and Cohuna approximately $16,000 for Easter Sunday alone without any increase in productivity or health service provision.

 Likewise a metropolitan health service is facing an additional $600,000 on operating costs for Easter Sunday alone.

 Mr Walsh said that given Daniel Andrews’ commitment to penalty rates, the Labor Government must urgently guarantee to provide the full amount of additional funding required by our public hospitals and aged care services to meet these additional staffing costs.

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