Shorten’s splurge before ‘Mediscare’ campaign
BILL Shorten has pledged more than $200 million in upgrades for Queensland hospitals - more than in all other states combined - as Labor prepares another "Mediscare" campaign for the May election.
The majority of Labor's 11 major hospital and health service commitments for Queensland are in marginal electorates which Labor is targeting in its bid for power.
But an incoming Labor government will face demands from state governments for extra funding to reimburse them for what they say is a $600 million national shortfall in federal payments for procedures.
Federal Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King said she would work with the State Government to ensure all Queensland hospitals received a boost.
Seats targeted in the funding include: Petrie (Redcliffe paediatric emergency department redesign), Leichhardt (Cairns University Hospital and Cairns Hospital emergency department upgrade), Forde (Logan Urgent Care Centre), Flynn (Blackwater health service redevelopment and Emerald Hospital emergency department refurbishment) and Capricornia (Rockhampton Hospital cardiac theatre).
Another pledge for a clinic in Peter Dutton's seat of Dickson will be announced today.
A blueprint for the campaign has been drawn up based on the Longman by-election, where Labor attacked the LNP over what it said were cuts to Caboolture Hospital. The cash will be drawn from Labor's $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles called for federal Labor to commit to pay back $156 million the state says it has been short-changed over the past two years.
"We would expect a new Labor government should move quickly to reverse the retrospective cut to hospital funding made by the Morrison Government," Mr Miles said.
Ms King has vowed to lift the Commonwealth share of hospital activity based funding from 45 per cent to 50 per cent but this will be phased in over five years.