The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says regional Victorians are being pushed further from the health system they deserve as Daniel Andrews continues to spin away his $2 billion cut to the state’s health budget.
Mr Walsh says the Andrews Labor Government’s recent budget confirms in black and white a $2 billion cut to health funding, justified due to lapsing COVID-19 response initiatives.
Yet paradoxically, he says at the same time Daniel Andrews continues to argue that increased Commonwealth health funding in response to the pandemic must be continued as COVID “will not be over in September”.
“While he continues to spin, deflect and blame others for Victoria’s health crisis – using his massive taxpayer funded PR machine in his office – Daniel Andrews’ $28.1 billion big build, that has become a big bill, could see as many as 30 new hospitals across the state,” Mr Walsh says.
“Furthermore, the interest expense alone on Labor’s record state net debt would clear the hospital waiting list,” he says.
“At what point does this star chamber government, where everything connected with running the state is a secret unless Daniel Andrews says otherwise, realise the jig is up?”
Mr Walsh says Daniel Andrews can’t have it both ways on health funding, and needs to reverse this $2 billion health cut.
“It’s black and white right there in his own budget – a $2 billion cut to health this year alone. The budget shows the revised spend in 2021-22 was $27.05 billion and in 2022-23 that number has fallen to $25.03 billion,” he adds.
“This mockery of a Premier must take responsibility for his own budget mayhem.”
Mr Walsh says while Daniel Andrews is striving to stay hidden behind another political smokescreen, seeking to shift costs – and blame – to the Commonwealth, Victoria’s health system remains in crisis.”
“If Daniel Andrews was serious about fixing the health crisis he has created, he would reverse his $2 billion health cut.”
Mr Walsh says Nationals MPs around the state are getting constant complaints and approaches from people of all ages about the drop-off in resourcing at regional health centres and care facilities.
He says one recent example comes from Wangaratta, where an 80-year-old woman, who drove herself to hospital feeling unwell because she didn’t think she could rely on an ambulance – went to walk out after waiting hours without attention.
“After the long wait she decided to get up and leave for home, hoping she would get better. Just as she was leaving, the Nurse-on-Call stepped in and stopped her.
“And may have saved her life, this woman was then as diagnosed as having a ministroke.
“Nurses like this are the only reason our hospitals are still kicking. Without their hard work and dedication people like this resident would be missed.”
“It’s time the Victorian Government and the Minister for Health listened to our nurses, our patients, and our health services within our regional communities.”