Home | Industry & Reform | No health deal with WA before poll: govt

No health deal with WA before poll: govt

Premier makes clear no agreement to be made on federal government's national health reform plan before the election.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has all but ruled out coming to an agreement with Western Australia over the federal government's national health reform plan before the election.

But she says it will be "one of the first things" the Labor government will address if re-elected.

WA was the only state not to sign up to COAG's health agreement in April, spearheaded by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Premier Colin Barnett has refused to give up a third of the state's GST to fund the national health and hospitals network, meaning WA will miss out on about $350 million worth of funding from Canberra.

Last month Barnett suggested an agreement might be near after a meeting with new Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

But Roxon said while discussions could continue, Barnett had made it clear "he doesn't think it's appropriate for them to continue in earnest while we're in an election period".

"It's vitally important for WA that these extra investments are able to flow to emergency department care, GP and nursing training places and into elective surgery," she said.

"It will be a top priority. But the premier has made it clear that discussions cannot continue during this time."

One of the sticking points for Barnett is the federal government's requirement to take 30 per cent of WA's GST at the same time as the Commonwealth Grants Commission has reduced the state's slice of the tax carve-up.

In February the commission announced WA's share would be reduced to 7.1 per cent of the $45.1 billion estimated GST revenue for 2010/11, down from 8.1 per cent in 2009/10.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he would look into how GST revenue was carved up among the states and territories if he became prime minister.

Roxon refused to say whether that would be something a re-elected Labor government would look at to appease Barnett in order to reach an agreement.

Instead she criticised Abbott for not yet releasing his health policy.

"He can speculate about all sorts of things but until we see his policy, we cannot be confident whether he will return to his old form, which is cutting health services," she said.


Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the top stories in our weekly newsletter Sign up now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *