The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
14 May 2022
Topics: Labor’s billion-dollar medical slush fund, Labor’s failed super clinics 2.0 policy, Labor’s uncosted election commitments, Labor’s slashing of mental health support, hospitals
GREG HUNT: Good Afternoon everyone.
This Morning, we’ve seen another day another train wreck from Mr. Albanese. It’s ever more clear that he’s just not up to it.
Today, we’ve seen a billion-dollar slush fund from the Leader of the Opposition for undisclosed recipients through undisclosed Ministerial processes through undisclosed parties for undisclosed purposes.
The whiteboard is back. It is incredible, that an opposition could literally bring forward a billion-dollar slush fund, which will be determined at the discretion of the Minister in government for purposes they’ll tell you then, for recipients they’ll take tell you then, for amounts they’ll well you then.
What’s happened here is very clear, at the start of the campaign, the opposition re-heated the disastrous super clinic’s policy and that failed catastrophically. So now, they won’t give any detail whatsoever.
And we’re seeing this with their costings. The Coalition has put forward 27 policies to be costed the Labor Party, No, zero, nada, nothing.
And that’s a party that is seeking to be the government of Australia. That’s the Leader of the Opposition who wants to be the Prime Minister of Australia.
Remember they said all their policies have been costed? Well, they have yet to put forward a single policy for costing through the course of the campaign. These have to be described by the Parliamentary Budget Office.
We’ve put forward 27 They put forward zero.
And so now we have on top of everything else, a billion-dollar slush fund for undisclosed purposes, to undisclosed parties, via an undisclosed Ministerial discretion in undisclosed amounts.
All of this comes at the same time, if we look back at what they actually did in Government.
We know that the Labor Party slashed the private health insurance rebate and boasted about it. We want to guarantee a guarantee that they will not change, alter, reduce the private health insurance rebate in any way shape or form. A very simple guarantee for Mr. Albanese to make over the coming days.
We know that private health costs have decreased under our government in terms of the annual changes which have halved.
We also know that over 700,000 people have flooded into private health insurance in recent years, as we’ve made these real reforms with real detail.
We also know very simply that Labor slashed mental health funding. They reduced the number of mental health psychological services from 18 to 10. We doubled them 15 to 20.
And of course, they stopped the medicines, for endometriosis for IVF for schizophrenia, for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for asthma. These are the medicines that were stopped.
By contrast, what we have done is very clear, we’ve taken Medicare from $19 billion to $31 billion to $32 billion to $34 billion and then $36 billion funded, allocated set out in an over 400 page long term national health plan and budget paper, 1.7 In terms of the health portfolio statement, but over 400 page long term national health plan.
In addition to that 100 million telehealth services. We have made telehealth universal and permanent. And that is the largest change in Medicare since Medicare was created.
And then finally, what we’ve also done is dramatically increase the rate of bulk billing and this is something that Mr. Albanese will not address. What makes it easier to see the doctor is if you can go without having to pay and that’s bulk billing.
Bulk billing under Labor was at 82.2%, under the Coalition, it’s at 88.8%, an all-time high. That’s the reality of what’s actually occurred.
Today, we have seen an astonishing train wreck from Mr. Albanese, a billion-dollar slush fund undisclosed purposes to undisclosed parties, through undisclosed means for undisclosed amounts.
That’s not the stuff of government, what it shows is that Mr. Albanese is not ready, he’s not up to it, as opposed to a clear plan to continue to improve medical services and in what Mr. Albanese himself has said, is the best health system in the world.
Happy to take questions I’ll start Steph from the ABC please.
JOURNALIST: Thanks Minister. The AMA has welcomed Labor’s announcement, labelling it a strong down payment on a ten year primary healthcare plan and saying the Coalition has not funded this 2019 commitment. What’s your response to the AMA today?
HUNT: We set out a $1.7 billion commitment with line items expressly enunciated in the Budget. As an example, that included the over $60 million for MRI deregulation right across rural Australia.
And so what that means is that every community that wants an MRI will not have to have a licensing process where it’s chosen for one community or another. It’s universal right across that field.
In addition, for example, what we’ve also put in place is increasing medical places, we’ve put in place increased rebates in rural areas. We’ve also put in place increased retention bonuses for people in rural areas.
So they’re all set out a $1.7 billion, 10 year primary care plan.
I’ll go to Sarah please.
JOURNALIST: Thanks Minister. Just a question, a lot of calls today on hospitals, particularly in New South Wales are under extraordinary pressure at the moment with beds and ambulance ramping.
Again the AMA said that a Federal Government should commit to a 50-50 funding split in hospital funding to assist this pressure, will the Government commit to that or anything else to assist this pressure?
HUNT: Indeed, we have just committed to an additional $10 billion in funding for hospitals. That was set out on budget night by the Treasurer.
And so our hospital funding has doubled on our watch. It’s gone from just over $13 billion when Labor was in power to now $27 billion, $29 billion, $31 billion and $33 billion.
But this Budget added an additional $34 billion over the next four years, including $7 billion extra for Medicare $10 billion extra for aged care and very significantly $10 billion extra for hospitals.
So it’s the largest increase in hospitals funding in Australian history, which comes on top of an additional $10 billion, which we also provide as part of our response to assist the states with the COVID pandemic.
JOURNALIST: Hello Minister. Earlier today the Prime Minister addressed the vaccine rollout, he said [inaudible], but in hindsight he should have brought in Lieutenant General Frewen earlier and put him in charge and effectively, threw the Health Department and you under the bus as you’re on the way out of politics.
HUNT: No, this is what’s been set out before and what we’ve seen is one of the strongest responses anywhere in the world.
What Australia has is one of the highest vaccination rates, the lowest rates of loss of life, and one of the few countries in the world to have both achieved that and a 4% unemployment rate.
And so the Prime Minister said this before, I agree with him, and I acknowledge that it’s always important to continue to improve.
What we’ve done is achieved as I save a 97% double vaccination rate for Australians. We have a loss of life of less than 300 per million and an unemployment rate of 4%. And we are one of only two countries along with Japan across the entire OECD to have done that.
Alright. Thank you very much everybody.