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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Lawrence Springborg

    Springborg calls in Commonwealth debt on National Health Reform

    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Lawrence Springborg

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Springborg calls in Commonwealth debt on National Health Reform


    State grants to non-government health providers have been wound back as Queensland looks to Canberra for long-promised increases in support for primary and preventative health through the Australia–wide ‘Medicare Local’ network.

     Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says the Commonwealth undertook to address primary health delivery and local health care needs as part of its National Health Reforms (2007-12).

     “Australia-wide, Medicare Locals are expected to support and embed prevention at different levels of the system as a core part of their work,” Mr Springborg said today. “The Commonwealth requires they pursue “initiatives in general practice and primary health care designed to improve disease prevention and management and improve access to services”.

     “Like other States, Queensland has changed to meet the reform agenda and that includes a greater Commonwealth contribution to prevention measures and to allied health.  Like the former divisions of general practice now engaged in Medicare Locals, we are still waiting for the Federal Government to honour its side of the bargain.” 

     Mr Springborg drew a line under the problem with a second round of reductions in the State’s grants program to apply from the end of September. This included the specific consideration of ATSI programs to eliminate duplication and rationalise services between providers.   He said it was time the Commonwealth transformed its rhetoric into a lasting commitment.

    “Repeated complaints from State-based health ministers are yet to produce a reply from the Commonwealth,” he said.

     “On June 30, my initial review of the dysfunctional grants system of the former Labor State Government resulted in closure for grants with a defined end-date,” he said. “Now grants that were offered a temporary extension have also been reviewed.”

    The Minister said discontinued programs included those that were the domain of the Federal Government; were funded under the now expired ‘Queensland Chronic Diseases Strategy’; or did not support core clinical services.

     He said Medicare Locals were to be accountable to the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA), which was formed to drive change and innovation around preventive health policies and programs including plans for mass media campaigns.

     “I have written to the Federal Minister to remind her of these promises and to report on the consequences of her failure to deliver,” he said.

     Under National Health Reform, Queensland Health would continue to provide supplementary enabling functions such as health and medical research co-ordination, public health epidemiology and public health data management led by the Chief Health Officer. A reduced number of preventive health programs provided by the State would retain a significant impact as Medicare Locals began to fulfil their prescribed function.

     Mr Springborg said Queensland retained its full commitment to National Partnership Agreements as part of the National Health Reform process. “Commonwealth imperatives, including the creation of a ‘national efficient price’ for health care, are helping to drive efficiencies in state health delivery,” he said.

     “A wide cross-section of grants reviewed since June 30 will continue through the coming financial year.”

     The total annual funding for projects included in the review was $11,887,933.  Of this:

    • 2012/13 savings from discontinued projects totals $3,359,632
    • Recurrent savings for 2013/14 onwards will be $4,412,875
    • Continuing projects are worth $7,182,606 (recurrent)



    Contact: Cameron Thompson 0407-585230