Health reforms in debate in Australia

08:42, March 05, 2010      

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The Australian government's health reforms which sparks political sparring have been discussed in detail across the states.

The Australian federal government plans to take over funding of state-run public hospitals by redirecting some of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue which currently all goes to the State governments.

Deputy Prime Minister Julie Gillard said on Thursday there have been discussions between federal government and the state governments on the issue.

"The prime minister's message to premiers and chief ministers is very clear: if we continue the way we're going now, health costs are going to consume all of state budgets in around 20 years ' time." she said.

The health blueprint unveiled in Canberra on Wednesday aims to strip the states of 30 percent of their GST receipts to fund a federal takeover of state-run public hospitals.

The Prime Minister also plans to sideline the states on hospital administration instead doling out tied grants to new local boards which would deliver services in accordance with strict requirements set in Canberra.

The reform plan has sparked immediate political sparring with the West Australian Liberal government of Colin Barnett ruling out a handover of GST revenues, while Rudd threatens a referendum in the election year if states do not hand over 30 percent of their GST revenues to bankroll this plan.

Source: Xinhua
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