The peak body for medical practitioners has criticised the State Government’s health-focused budget, saying it does not deliver enough for patients.
The Australian Medical Association’s Victorian President, Dr Harry Hemley, says billions of dollars in extra funding for hospitals is a “good start”.
But he says the budget is short-sighted in its plans for the future.
“If we are going to keep our population growing, and look after our aged people, we need more beds,” he said.
“We need a vision for the future, and I’m afraid this budget does not deliver that.”
The State Opposition has echoed the concerns, saying the Government’s promise to build and upgrade hospitals is misleading.
The Opposition Leader, Ted Baillieu, says some of the projects have been funded outside the traditional four-year funding cycle.
“Anybody who wakes up in Bendigo and thinks this is fantastic, the Government have delivered a new hospital, they have got another thing coming to them,” he said.
“There is only $200 million of that hospital funded over the next four years. There is $277 million short in the next four years.”
The Victorian Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisation has also expressed dismay at the Government’s lack of extra funding for indigenous health.
The organisation’s chief executive officer, Jill Gallagher, says the Government should have used the budget to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous life expectancies.
“The health infrastructure dollars, the $4 billion, that is fantastic,” she said.
“We would been happy if one per cent of that had come to indigenous health infrastructure. We are really, really sad and disappointed.”
But not all reactions to Victoria’s 154th budget have been negative.
Tim Piper from the Australian Industry Group has welcomed the Government’s reductions to payroll tax and WorkCover premiums.
“We have got to be happy that the Brumby Government have been able to come through with some decent deductions,” he said.
Brian Walsh from the Master Builders Association is also pleased to see increases to the first homebuyers grant.
“The budget is one which will make builders happy, because there is work for the commercial sector as well as the residential,” he said.
The public transport users association has welcomed spending on new trams and rail infrastructure, but says the package ignores problems with bus services in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.