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Health policies positive leading into the federal election

Posted 18 May 2019

With only days until Australians head to the polls to elect the nation’s 46th parliament, parties of all colours and sizes are busy criss-crossing the country making last minute commitments. The core focus to date has largely been on the important issue of climate change and, as always, the economy. Health has seen some big, but very specific commitments and what we’ve seen from all the major parties is a lack of system approach.

Speaking on-air with ABC Melbourne Radio’s Jon Faine last Friday, the VHA’s Director of Policy and Strategy, Emma Liepa, spoke to the need for a longer term view of the health system.

‘All of the health commitments are positive. For example, the announcements we’ve heard from Labor on emergency department wait times are positive, as is the Greens focus on dental, however, we have a system that is so complicated because those who get into government tend to focus on very specific pieces and only the issues in front of them, with a tendency to avoid the system as a whole.’

The Labor commitment to an Australian Health Reform Commission to oversee a more joined up approach is perhaps the closest we’ve come in this election to that type of approach, while the Greens commitment to prevention through a Preventative Health Agency is an essential and positive move toward keeping people healthy and out of our over-burdened health system.

The VHA has been pleased to see that some of these policies have echoed the VHA’s own recommendations, which were set out in the VHA’s Commonwealth pre-budget submission 2019-2020. The federal edition of the VHA Election Alert contains pre-election announcements pertaining to the health policies of Labor, the Coalition and the Greens, highlighting known Victorian-related pledges, as well as further analysis on the overall health policies of the respective parties.

Victorian Healthcare Association partner, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, has released a scorecard of policies announced to early-May. The scorecard focuses on seven domains of health with contributions from around 30 organisations, including the VHA. It can be viewed here. To listen to the ABC Broadcast click here. To read the VHA Election Alert click here.

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