Ahead of the federal election on May 21, the Mercury is asking candidates in the Cunningham electorate questions on the issues that readers have identified as the most important to them.
One of these issues is health.
The questions the Mercury put to the candidates were:
You can read the candidates' responses below.
Both state and federal governments through their complete mismanagement, incompetence and over reaction during the Covid 19 pandemic has inadvertently caused a new pandemic and that is the Pandemic of Mental Health.
Our decaying healthcare system needs major surgery to be able to look after our people now and into the future as well as meet the new challenges that have been created as a result of the pandemic.
The Liberal-Labor duopoly on both federal and state level has neglected and ignored healthcare for too long. Through their bureaucracy and misappropriation of funding, the people who need it most miss out on the vital funding they need. This is why the United Australia Party is committed to injecting 40 Billion dollars directly into health care bypassing federal and state government bureaucrats and giving it directly to the institutions that need it such as Hospitals.
This will help support and improve Medicare now and into the future. Our own electorate would Benefit directly from this and I would support the allocation of extra funding to the Bulli Hospital and our Aged care institutions in our electorate as a Priority.
Staff shortages(Especially of highly skilled healthcare professionals) has led to a massive decline in services provided and put an overwhelming strain on Nurses. The UAP will be abolishing all Vaccine mandates, Lock downs and Vaccine Passports to allow Health care professionals and support staff return to work in this critical time and this would help reduce the strain on an already overworked team mates. We need to support our Healthcare works and allow them to do their jobs."
The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in our healthcare system - pressure points healthcare workers have been warning about for years.
We should be working to build a better, stronger, more durable health system. Under the Liberals out of pocket costs to see a GP or a specialist have increased by nearly 50 per cent in Cunningham. Labor wills strengthen Medicare by making it easier to see a doctor.
An Albanese Labor Government will:
Labor believes that health care has to be available to every single Australian, regardless of your postcode or the size of your bank balance.
The pandemic also exposed vulnerabilities in our society more broadly, particularly our ability to be self-reliant. Recovery from the pandemic will involve addressing local job opportunities.
A Labor Government will invest in our local workforce and work with business to invest in manufacturing and renewables to create jobs.
Labor has already announced plans for fee-free TAFE places and more university places in areas of skills shortage, providing more opportunities for apprentices and trainees and filling skills gaps.
Labor's Future Made in Australia Plan, National Reconstruction Fund and Rewiring the Nation will help create more secure jobs by making more things in Australia again, rebuilding our industrial base and benefiting areas including our own.
Did not respond.
Small business. Small business. Small business!
For the Illawarra to bounce back from the COVID pandemic it is our small businesses who first need support to bounce back. The lockdowns and restrictions had an absolutely horrendous impact on our local small businesses, and those which remain, will need all the help they can get.
My goal is to support small business like the Liberal Party used to, and if elected I would fight to implement these six measures for small businesses.
I am a real person, with a real job. I am not a career politician who has studied politics at university, got a job as a political staffer,and then run for office. I have worked in aged care for the last seven years, and in terms of healthcare in the Illawarra, I believe the biggest issue is that aged care is broken.I have witnessed abuse. I have witnessed neglect.
Throwing more money at the industry will not fix it. This extra money will go to the middlemen,the owners and managers pockets, not to the residents care. Currently if a home is allocated say $15/day to feed a resident, they will employ a catering company which charges $10/day, who then spend $5/day on the food and its delivery and preparation.
This example is not limited to food. Everyone takes a cut of the money to be spent on your mother or grandmother at every step of the process in our current aged care system.
The Liberal Democrats education policy is to fund the student,the person, not the institution- and I believe this approach is also what is needed and will go a long way to fixing aged care and our overall healthcare system. Know that when a major party promises to throw more money at aged care that this money is not going to the resident.
Life has been challenging through this COVID-19 pandemic. Many people - myself included - have been hesitant to contact others for fear of hurting those we love. Across Cunningham, people have lost their lives, jobs, passions, and mental wellbeing.
The pandemic showed us how connected we are, and how important our collective health is.
If elected to the next parliament, I will push for a Centre for Disease Control, and a publicly-owned facility capable of producing mRNA vaccines. These initiatives will better prepare us for future variants or pandemics. I will also advocate for intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines to be waived.
Even before the pandemic, our public hospitals were stretched, with most of the workforce underpaid and overworked. Last month, nurses and midwives went on strike to demand nurse-to-patient ratios and better pay. If elected, I will push for ratios and pay rises in public hospitals and aged care centres.
The Australian Medical Association and several unions are calling for the federal government to match state government funding for public hospitals, so that hospitals can boost capacity and reduce emergency wait times. The Greens will provide this by redirecting the $7 billion currently going to private health insurance companies each year via the insurance rebate.
When The Greens were last in balance of power, we got dental care into Medicare for kids. If elected, I want to finish the job and make both dental and mental healthcare covered by Medicare.
"Closing the gap" between the health of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians must be a priority. Government funding for Indigenous-owned healthcare services will build trust and connections between healthcare services and our Indigenous communities. We cannot expect the same, tired healthcare models to work when they have been failing for my entire lifetime.
The Greens' health policy platform has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office. The increased spending on health that The Greens propose is paid for by increased taxes on billionaires and large multinational corporations.
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