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24 January - Wayne Swan is pushing political spin to its limits by blaming the States for Labor’s $1.6 billion cut to public hospital funding that is in black and white in his own Budget documents.

 
In a weak smoke and mirrors game, Mr Swan yesterday claimed the Queensland Government is responsible, despite the cuts appearing in his own Budget papers.  It follows Mr Swan’s previous claims that the Tea Party in the US caused his Budget deficit.
 
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said Mr Swan should have the decency to at least admit that total Federal funding for health will fall by $988 million this year according to the most recent figures in his Final Budget Outcome for 2011-12 and his Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) for 2012-13.
 
The Queensland Government on the other hand will increase the Queensland Health budget by $816 million this financial year.
 
According to MYEFO and the Final Budget Outcome Federal funding for public hospitals through the National Health Reform Payments will be reduced by $1.6 billion, including over $340 million for Queensland over the next four years alone.
 
Leaked Commonwealth Treasury correspondence shows that $403.5 million will be clawed back in the next six months for public hospital funding that has been spent or allocated in 2011-12 and 2012-13.  This includes $103.4 for Queensland.
 
“Mr Swan’s denial of what is in his own Budget papers is destroying any last shred of credibility he may have left.
“The retrospective nature of Labor’s cuts is unreasonable and causing damage to hospitals and health services.  Patients deserve solutions, not Mr Swan’s denials and excuses,” Mr Dutton said.
Labor’s cuts to hospitals is in addition to nearly $4 billion cut from private health insurance and $1 billion a year cut from dental health by the Gillard Government through the closure of the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.
Media contact: Tom Fleming 0437 250 045

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