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2024 NSW State Budget barely a start to addressing healthcare crisis

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
18 June 2024

The NSW government in handing down its budget today has acknowledged the scale of the work to be done to rebuild our public healthcare system. The Budget includes a number of measures that are a step in the right direction, but not with the scale or urgency that is needed to address the crisis NSW residents are experiencing in health care.

Dr Amanda Cohn responded to several announcements relating to Health and Mental Health made in the budget papers.

 

Quotes attributable to Dr Amanda Cohn, Greens spokesperson for Health including Mental Health, and former GP.

“The government appears to have listened to the cries of healthcare workers in hospitals by announcing new staff as well as emergency department pressure relief measures. However, dropping 250 workers into hospitals across the state will not deliver sustainable relief for our public healthcare system without real improvements to those workers’ pay and conditions. Nurses and midwives must at a minimum must be paid on par with other states and territories.

“The budget offers no additional funding for mental health since the mental health inquiry report was released. That’s really not good enough considering the crisis we know that system is facing right now and that spending on mental health is well below what it should be as a proportion of the burden of disease.

“The government is trying to push these mental health initiatives as solutions but the truth is that a single front door program doesn’t work if there’s nowhere for people to go from there to get ongoing support. The same goes for creating new community mental health positions despite the fact that such poor pay and conditions for those roles will see them go unfilled.

“It is a huge step in the right direction for the NSW government to directly engage in the provision of primary care. They have clearly heard that people being able to see a GP when they need to is good for our health and will reduce the burden on overcrowded emergency departments. 

“They have listened to GPs and provided certainty about their payroll tax liabilities. However, using payroll tax to try and force GPs to bulk-bill is not a sustainable solution for them or their patients when Medicare rebates don't actually cover the cost of providing quality care.

“I welcome the government’s ongoing investment in several hospital redevelopment projects. What concerns me is when those projects take years to complete, the expenditure originally committed by government fails to keep up with rising inflation rates and construction costs. 

“We need a state government to deliver infrastructure projects to meet community need, rather than cutting back projects to fit inside an old funding allocation.

“The Greens have identified a broad range of revenue raising opportunities to fund the health care NSW communities need - from bringing property and luxury vehicle taxes into line with other states, to collecting payroll tax on partners of big consulting firms and increased levies on gambling companies.”

 

Media contact: Josh Appleton - [email protected] - 02 9230 2566

 

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Amanda Cohn
NSW Greens MP
18 June 2024
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2024 NSW State Budget barely a start to addressing healthcare crisis

The NSW government in handing down its budget today has acknowledged the scale of the work to be done to rebuild our public healthcare system. The Budget includes a number of measures that are a step in the right direction, but not with the scale or urgency that is needed...