Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health. The action I seek is for the minister to visit Sandringham Hospital, which services my electorate, to discuss and understand the effects of cuts by the federal government to its services to our local community. Sandringham Hospital is a significant hospital in my area, along with Monash hospital and the Frankston and Dandenong hospitals. It is a key service provider. Its emergency department supports more than 30 000 people in our region. With the City of Kingston expected to grow between 15 per cent and 20 per cent in the coming 10 years, it will be even more critical longer term.
Currently we face the avalanche of federal health cuts that continue to crunch our services. The latest has been an attempt by the federal government to claw back $73 million that has already mainly been spent in the financial year. That will directly affect patients in my electorate. It is a great shame that the federal government’s future cuts to funding, which were reported in the Age last year, could be equivalent to the closing of two hospitals. That is the gravity of those cuts. The federal government cannot walk away from health like it has tried to walk away from public education. We have seen the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, reported as being keen to walk away from state services that his government has a big say in funding. Victoria says no, and everyone in this place and in our community needs to put Victoria first in every element, because these cuts will have devastating effects on our communities.
We have launched a petition to try to challenge those federal cuts, but to get a greater understanding of how this will affect my community it is important that the minister come down to discuss this with Sandringham Hospital. Today I call on Sussan Ley, the federal Minister for Health, and the Prime Minister to reconsider some of those longer term effects.
The Victorian government in its announcement over the weekend is investing in elective surgery, investing more in our hospitals. This is the biggest boost yet to elective surgery funding, with $335 million. You could not get a greater contrast between what Labor does when it is in government — that is, invest in health, invest in our public health system and invest in our hospitals — and what the federal government does, because it has form in this space in cutting health services. Where have we seen that before? We saw that from the Baillieu and Napthine governments, which devastated our health system and treated it with utter contempt. In conclusion I ask the Minister for Health to come to Sandringham Hospital with my colleagues to speak about some of those impacts and how we can better support our community.