Labor’s reckless cuts to grassroots health prevention programs

Community health services delivering preventative health programs have been savagely cut by the Andrews Government.

The news of cuts to critical health funding was dumped late on Friday, completely blindsiding Community Health service providers in regional Victoria.

Up to 15 per cent will be cut from Victorian preventative health programs by the Andrews Government which involves critical programs that address chronic disease and contributing factors including smoking, vaping, disability inclusion, unhealthy eating, and physical inactivity.

Nationals MP’s have taken aim at the Premier labelling Labor’s community health funding cuts a shocking indictment on the Andrews Government.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said the Andrews Government’s cuts are reckless given ballooning hospital surgery waitlists and the blow out in demand for beds.

“It’s completely outrageous for Labor to cut programs which prevent Victorians from needing to go to hospital.

“Rather than cutting his own department of Premier and Cabinet spin doctors, Daniel Andrews is prepared to cut our community health service.

“The Premier ran his entire 2022 election campaign stating – “you cut services, people suffer”, every Labor MP’s should be ashamed of this reckless decision to cut preventative health measures.”

Access to health services will become increasingly difficult for regional Victorians who rely on community health services.  The health programs impacted by Labor’s cuts are all long term programs, widely recognised for their ability to prevent disease.

Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron said he was incredibly concerned about the future impact Labor’s cuts to community health services will have in the Latrobe Valley.

“By the government’s own admission, people living in Latrobe Valley have much poorer health outcomes than other Victorians,” said Mr Cameron.

“Slashing funding for preventative grassroots health programs is counterproductive and short sighted.

“More services are needed to prevent hospitalisation and improve health and wellbeing of our population, not less – Labor’s decision is false economy.

“It’s unfathomable Daniel Andrews has chosen a cost saving measure that will directly increase pressure on our struggling hospitals.”

Ms Bath said if Labor is cutting preventative health funding, it makes you wonder what other essential programs will now be under threat in the upcoming May state budget.

“In the past eight years Daniel Andrews has wasted $1 Billion on external consultants and mismanaged projects which has resulted in a $30.7 billion budget blow out.

“The Nationals are calling on the Premier to reverse Labor’s funding cuts to community health – it’s the wrong time, the wrong service, and the wrong cut.”