Brand candidates disagree on how health funding will affect electorate

Brand Labor candidate Madeleine King with Labor MP Catherine King at the Rockingham General Hospital.
Brand Labor candidate Madeleine King with Labor MP Catherine King at the Rockingham General Hospital.

LABOR has flagged its concerns regarding health cuts, which it believes will hit the pockets of the people of Brand.

Speaking with Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King at Rockingham General Hospital, Labor candidate Madeleine King said she was worried health cuts would put a large strain on struggling families in the area.

“It will deny the people of Brand easy access to the health care that they need and deserve as Australians,” she said.

“What we find is that people hesitate to go and seek the healthcare that they need in this area and these cuts are just another example of the (Malcolm) Turnbull Liberal Government looking after the top end of town and failing to put people first.”

Ms King was adamant that if the Liberal Government retained power, more cuts to health would be made.

An impending $650 million cut to bulk billing incentives, which will come into effect on July 1, a day before the election is the most recent to draw the Labor Party’s ire.

The cut may force pathology service providers to pass on costs to patients.

Pathology tests include, but are not limited to, blood tests, urine tests and pap smears.

Ms King said the Abbott-Turnbull Government had regularly cut from Medicare during their time in power.

“Every opportunity that this government has had, they’ve taken money (from Medicare), whether its been in the 2014 budget, the 2015 budget, now the 2016 budget and then the mid-year economic financial outlook, every single one of those… has contained major cuts to Medicare,” she said.

However, Liberal candidate for Brand Craig Buchanan refuted Labor’s claims, saying the pathology cut will not affect patients covered by Medicare.

“The Government invests billions of dollars each year subsidising patient’s pathology tests through Medicare, and will continue to do so,” he said.

“The amount of Medicare rebate you receive as a patient will not change under our proposals.”

Mr Buchanan disagreed with the notion the Liberals were cutting funds to health, saying spending in health actually rose 3.2 per cent to $71.4 billion this year.

“It’s easy for Bill Shorten and Labor to promise massive spending increases when they flatly refuse to cost their policies, or say how they will pay for them,” he said.

“The people of Brand are straight-talking, they aren’t interested in wild promises.”