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Power before patients: Carbon tax hike costing Victorian hospitals $6.7 million

Tuesday, 02 April 2013

A detailed analysis of energy bills shows that the Federal Government’s carbon tax has cost Victoria’s hospitals and health services more than $6.713 million in extra energy costs over the past six months, Victorian Health Minister David Davis said today.

Mr Davis said the analysis by the Department of Health of the energy consumption of Victorian hospitals, incorporating carbon emissions and the carbon price, found 15 per cent of energy costs was attributable to the carbon price.

“The Federal Government’s carbon tax means our hospitals are under more pressure to spend more money to pay for gas and electricity,” Mr Davis said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has been strong in its push for compensation from the Commonwealth for the additional costs imposed on Victorian health services and health providers by the carbon price.

“Unlike the GST, which exempted health care, the iniquitous carbon tax has cost the Victorian public healthcare system $6.7 million in the six months to the end of December.”

Mr Davis said the carbon price was having a very real impact on the budgets of all Victorian hospitals, resulting in a slower growth in services than would otherwise be possible.

“Unfortunately, the Commonwealth’s clean energy package does not provide equitable support to hospitals compared to other industries generating similar levels of carbon emissions,” Mr Davis said.

“On behalf of Victorian health services I have written to the Commonwealth seeking compensation for the impact of the carbon pricing scheme on the Victorian public health system.

“The Victorian Coalition Government wants our hospitals to spend their money on treating extra patients rather than on an energy price hike. The Government has a range of initiatives underway to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon intensity of the public healthcare system.

“Despite these efficiency measures, a level of energy will still be required to operate our hospitals safely and this is subject to the carbon price – in effect a tax on health care,” Mr Davis said.

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