Queensland Labor MPs lining up to back Kevin Rudd for a renewed
leadership tilt have been asked to make their support conditional
on the former Prime Minister committing to re-instate $103
million in health grants to Queensland, which were slashed by the
Federal Government just two months ago.
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the funding cut, which took effect in December, was equivalent to the salaries of between 1,000 and 2,000 nurses.
Mr Springborg acknowledged the fight to recover the funding was being impeded by a curious silence from normally vocal union bosses who had gone missing in action on behalf of their rank and file members.
“I make this simple plea to Federal Labor MPs across Queensland - if you are going to back Kevin Rudd please ensure you first secure a commitment from him that he will immediately return the $103 million which Julia Gillard and Wayne Swann cut without any notice,” he said.
Mr Springborg said the Swan funding cuts could not be flippantly dismissed as some sort of argy-bargy between the Queensland and Federal Governments.
“Every single Health Minister from every state and from both sides of politics has put their name to a communiqué calling for the cuts to be reversed,” he said.
“We are talking about real federal funding cuts that threaten real health jobs and real health services”, he said.
Mr Springborg said the Federal Government had manipulated Queensland’s population data by claiming the state’s population had fallen by 30,000 people in 12 months whereas it had actually increased by 67,000.
“It is based on this dodgy manipulation of figures that Federal Labor decided to reduce our health funding”, he said.
Minister for Health
The Honourable Lawrence Springborg
17 February 2013