newsCO.com.au | SA election: Xenophon backtracks on health budget cuts plan to pay for policies

February 15, 2018

@newsCOflash

2018-02-15 09:19:00

Updated

February 15, 2018 20:19:53

Nick Xenophon has made another major gaffe BOOKr.VIP to the state’s health system — now saying he does not support slashing the health budget, hours after saying the opposite.

Earlier today, Mr Xenophon flagged the prospect of health cuts to pay for his SA Best party’s election promises.

The concession came during an announcement of a ‘royalties for regions’ policy, aimed at funding new infrastructure and programs in the state’s regional areas.

When asked how he intended to pay for the ideas, Mr Xenophon pointed to the health system as a potential cash cow.

“The health budget, at $5.9 billion, if you look at the overall expenditure, is one of the most significant areas where there are savings,” he said.

“We will get savings through greater efficiencies particularly in large spending departments.”

But Mr Xenophon has now backtracked on that statement, saying he has no plans for slashing health spending.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that we do not support any cuts to the health budget,” he said.

But he left the question of how his other policies could be funded unanswered, simply saying “we believe we can get better outcomes than we have now”.

“The regional policy will actually stimulate growth and grow the revenue pie.”

It is the second apparent policy blunder by the SA Best leader in relation to health in less than a week.

The former MP recently unveiled his health policy, listing 24 priorities.

It says “at $3.6 billion, health is one of the biggest and fastest-growing expenditure lines in the state budget”.

But budget data shows SA spends significantly more than that on health, with $5.9 billion provisioned this financial year — just under one-third of the entire state budget.

Topics:

states-and-territories,

government-and-politics,

elections,

adelaide-5000,

sa

First posted

February 15, 2018 19:16:51

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