The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said health services at Bendigo Health are under unnecessary financial pressure from Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.
“Analyses performed by the four Coalition state governments confirmed stretched public hospital budgets will face a carbon tax between $1000 and $2400 per hospital bed, per year.
“A recent newspaper report said the tax would cost Bendigo Health an extra $600,000 this financial year, taking the hospital’s total gas and power bill to $3 million a year.
“While the hospital said the bill was a worst-case scenario forecast, without exemption or compensation available from the Commonwealth, public hospitals have no choice but to accrue debt or cut services.”
Senator McKenzie said by 2020 the overall impact of the carbon tax on Victorian hospitals and health services would be $143 million.
“It is expected to cost $13.5 million in its first year, rising to more than $21 million by 2020.
“The carbon tax won’t save the planet, but it might well compromise Bendigo Health’s services.
“Minister Combet talks about the carbon tax causing a 0.3% increase in hospital costs without mentioning what that percentage represents in dollar terms.
“Because public hospitals don’t charge their patients, the only option is to rack up debt or cut services somewhere; either in emergency, surgical waiting lists, or community health services.
“Julia Gillard is making it harder to make ends meet, not just for Australian families but for hospital services as well.
“The first priority of an elected Coalition government will be to repeal the carbon tax and the pressure it is placing on our public hospital services,” Senator McKenzie concluded.