Health issues must be faced

AUSTRALIA’S level of debt in the wake of the Federal Government’s stimulus spending spree is not inordinately high, according to the Governor of the Reserve Bank.

 Glenn Stevens was recently asked by an Opposition parliamentarian to comment on the state of Australia’s finances, but the question backfired with Mr Stevens’ response that Australia’s level of debt was still a lot lower than many OECD countries.

Such assurances allow the people of the Northern Rivers to embrace without reserve the announcement Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will make when he visits Lismore today.

The $8.3 million medical assessment unit at Lismore Base Hospital, expected to be up and running by November, will do much to ease the pressure on the hospital’s emergency department.

The Federal Government can boast this funding on top of $600,000 recently provided to the hospital for new surgical equipment; and the $15 million to top up State funding for the $27 million integrated cancer centre at Lismore Base Hospital.

The Federal Government is also spending $4.1 million in operational funds and $5.7 million in infrastructure funds to establish the University of Western Sydney’s new Rural Clinical School in Lismore and Bathurst.

The Rudd Government should be con-gratulated for these health initiatives, but they bring to the fore the question of health funding models in Australia.

While the Federal Government hands out the millions, its State counterpart continues to order local area health services to slash operational budgets.
The system needs review.

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