Thursday, 21 March 2024


Health system


Health system

Georgie CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) (18:12): (817) My adjournment matter this evening is for the attention of the Minister for Health, and it is in relation to the upcoming budget and the need to ensure that community health have sustainable funding so that they can continue to deliver the services that so many Victorians rely on. As we know, we have got an elective surgery waitlist that is in excess of 67,000. We have got many issues plaguing our health system. We have got the government targeting general practice, which is going to stop bulk-billing and it will cost Victorians $100 to visit a GP. They therefore will defer their care and get sicker, and the system is going to be under enormous pressure. Community health does a huge amount of work in the community – preventative health and really assisting with those allied health services such as dental, physio, dietetics, nutrition, podiatry, speech pathology and a range of other things, including counselling – which is very, very important to support vulnerable Victorians and keep them out of the acute health system.

I am concerned because, as we know, the state is broke. As we have just heard from various speakers, the reason is that the government has overspent. They have blown budgets. The projects are blowing out all over the place, and as a result we have this increasing debt. We are also having increasing taxes, so we are losing innovation and we are losing aspiration. The government is killing aspiration and killing innovation, and investment hopes are flooding out of this state. That is going to be very bad, and that is going to put more pressure on the health and wellbeing of Victorians.

Community health plays a critical role, as I said, and I think the demands for community health are going to increase because of all these pressures that will be occurring in the general community. I would like, as I know community health has been lobbying various MPs and also the government for, the community health services to be properly funded in a sustainable fashion so that they can continue the work that they do currently, but I fear that they are going to take on extra demand because of the increasing pressures, as I have said, in the general health system due to bad policy decisions and poor budget management that are putting exceptional pressure on our acute system. We are seeing our regional and rural health services with their budgets falling off a cliff. It is just frightening what is happening, and community health are going to have to pick up a lot of the slack in relation to supporting vulnerable Victorians. Therefore it is critical that their budget is fully sustainable and maintained and that there are no cuts in the upcoming budget. I know the Treasurer has said it is going to be a horror budget – every Victorian is expecting that – but the health and wellbeing of Victorians are absolutely critical.