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Govt grants $100 million in extra health funding for Queensland

20 May, 2008

A meeting between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Anna Bligh at Kirribilli has delivered a $100 million health cash injection, which the Queensland Government will use to train doctors in Queensland.

The Premier flew to Sydney to seal the landmark deal with the Prime Minister.

The money will be used to reimburse the state for the cost of training 235 medical students at Griffith University on the Gold Coast at a cost of approximately $60M up to 2010.

The Commonwealth has also agreed to pick up the cost of these medical places from the 2010 intake onwards.

On top of that the Queensland Government will use the Commonwealth Government funding to make a $40 million contribution to help relocate Griffith University Medical School on to the site of the new Gold Coast Hospital.

Medical training was traditionally an area of Commonwealth funding but Queensland was forced to use State funds to start the medical training scheme in 2005 when the Howard government refused to fund the vital places.

As a result the Queensland Government became the only state government in Australia to fund medical training places.

Yesterday the two leaders shook hands on the $100 million health injection, which Premier Bligh said was in stark contrast to years of under funding in health by the Howard government.

“I first started negotiating this deal with the Prime Minister at the COAG meeting in March but we have been working out the finer details of the funding over the last number of weeks,” Bligh said.

“The Howard Government starved our health service of funds for years. This is money we need and are entitled to and I am please to see that the new era of co-operation between Queensland and Canberra is starting to deliver.”

The Prime Minister said he was pleased to have had a very good meeting with the Queensland Premier in Sydney.

“After a lot of discussions with Anna, the Commonwealth Government has agreed to inject $100 million immediately into the Queensland health system to help the Queensland Government continue its reforms,” the Prime Minister said.

“Since day one I have made it clear that the Federal Government is committed to ending the blame game on health.

“Australia’s health system needs more doctors, and the Premier has told me that she will use this money in Queensland to help fund the excellent medical training program at Griffith University.

“The Premier said the reason for her decision was to make up for the fact that the Queensland Government some years ago took on Commonwealth funding responsibility by itself – paying for 235 medical training places.

“Today continues a new era of cooperation between the Federal Government and the Queensland Government on our health and hospitals system.”

The Premier approached Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the COAG meeting in March to argue that his government should right this wrong.

Weeks of negotiations followed over the quantum of funding, with the Premier and the Prime Minister closing the deal yesterday.

“This deal will free up $100 million of state money that we can reinvest in our health system,’’ said Premier Anna Bligh.

“We will direct every dollar saved towards Emergency Departments in our major hospitals.

“This where our hospital system is really feeling the pressure.”

“We are half way through a $10 billion health action plan and every dollar counts. This money will be invested to areas of need right across our health system.”