Local, Independant and Effective

Question Without Notice - Minister for Health, Peter Dutton - Albury Wodonga Health

Posted October 22, 2014


CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (14:17): My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister. Albury Wodonga Health is a cross-border provider, treating patients and the community in Victoria and New South Wales equally. If the proposed boundaries of the Murray
Primary Health Network come into existence it will destroy years of hard work aligning and delivering an outstanding cross-border health service. Will the minister consider realigning the Murray network boundaries to retain the current Albury-Wodonga
cross-border arrangements?

PETER DUTTON (Dickson—Minister for Health and Minister for Sport) (14:18): I thank the honourable member for her question. By way of background for members and those listening to the broadcast, the member speaks of Medicare Locals being replaced with Primary Health Networks. Medicare Locals, despite what the Labor Party want you to believe, do not deliver front-line services. Medicare Locals is a bureaucratic structure that was created. 

Ms King interjecting—
Mr Perrett interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat and the member for Moreton will desist!

Mr DUTTON: In some cases it has worked well and in many others it has not worked well. It has failed local
communities. The idea of Medicare Locals—

Mr Champion interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield—
champion of disorder!

Mr DUTTON: was that they would try to provide a coordination effort across the Primary Care Network and we agree with that proposition. We have adopted that proposition as a basis for the PHNs. The idea of the PHNs will be to take money away from Labor's bureaucratic structure and put it back into front-line services.

Ms King interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat will desist!

Mr DUTTON: This is a concept that is foreign to Labor at both the state and federal levels because, when they were in power in New South Wales and in Queensland, they took money away from doctors and they put it into bureaucratic structure. That is what the Labor Party do. That is not what this government will do. We want to take money away from the spin doctors that Labor employ and we want to put it back into the hands of the real doctors and nurses so that we can get the sort of health outcomes that the honourable member would want for her local community.

In relation to Albury and Wodonga, it may be that in the tender process, for argument's sake, the PHNs that cover Albury and Wodonga could be adopted by or run by the same provider. That is a possible outcome in this process; we will see how the tender
process goes. The objective of this government is to have the PHNs collaborate but also compete against each other so that wherever possible, yes, we can keep people out of expensive hospitals, provide support in community settings and in primary care settings. The Labor Party, of course, wanted to put money into bureaucratic structures.

Mr Husic interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The member for Chifley will desist!

Mr DUTTON: With the PHNs we will take that money away and put it back into front-line services so that we can get better health outcomes across this country.

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