Much is being made of the 'blame game' between the Federal Gillard Government and the Victorian Government over funding cuts to hospitals.
I would like to make two points very clear. First, this is no game. And second, the blame, or responsibility, lies clearly with the Federal Government.
The Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and her Parliamentary Secretary, Ballarat's Catherine King, know this. The funding cuts to Victoria are real. The Reserve Bank receipts for hospital funding to Victoria show $278 million for November and $262 in December 2012.
The Commonwealth will continue to take more than $15 million per month from Victoria until the end of the financial year, and ongoing until it takes $475 million over four years.
In Ballarat, this means a $2.8 million cut to the Ballarat Health Service, including the closure of eight beds and a suite of other responses aimed at reducing the impact on patient outcomes.
Cuts like these are happening to hospitals across Victoria, and Australia, as the Prime Minister takes easy aim at the states in order to make up her own budget shortfalls.
Unless the Prime Minister does something, another $15 million will be slashed from Victoria's health budget in February.
Whatever words the Federal Government chooses to cover this financial bleeding are empty. The public wants and deserves to be told the truth - they will feel the effects with bed closures and longer waiting lists.
Perhaps the Prime Minister can make another 'Captains Choice' and choose truth over lies.
Simon Ramsay MP