In defending their unconscionable $80 billion cuts to health and education, those opposite have said, 'Nobody is losing money now,' and, 'The cuts only come into effect beyond the forward estimates.' The fact is that those excuses are absolute nonsense. Those opposite are cutting $47 million from the ACT's health budget from 1 July—$47 million is being ripped out of ACT hospitals in just 25 days' time. That equates to staffing for 135 acute hospital beds, or employment for 390 nurses, or funding for 2,850 elective surgery operations.
I hope the members for Eden-Monaro and Hume are listening, because they know that Canberra's hospital system services their electorates as much as it does mine. Their constituents will be hurt by these massive cuts.
Today the ACT government will hand down their 2014-15 budget. Like all governments, they have been preparing this budget for months; however, just three weeks ago they found out that they will have to plug a $47 million gap in their health budget for the next year, and a $240 million gap in the next four years, thanks to the cruel cuts of those opposite. I would like to commend the ACT government for absorbing these cuts for the next year, so that our hospital systems will not have to lose 390 nurses.
Those opposite have broken their promises that there would be 'No cuts to health,' and that no state or territory would be worse off, and the people from this region who rely on the Canberra Hospital will pay the price.