District Health CEO Chris Crawford, Yamba health campaigner Jim Agnew, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Clarence Nationals by-election candidate Chris Gulaptis on the site of the proposed Yamba community health centre.
District Health CEO Chris Crawford, Yamba health campaigner Jim Agnew, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Clarence Nationals by-election candidate Chris Gulaptis on the site of the proposed Yamba community health centre. Rodney Stevens

Health funding $70 million short

NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner has acknowledged three years after the Garling report highlighted a $70 million shortfall in funding for North Coast health services the deficit is still not being met by the State Government.

Mrs Skinner was in Yamba to announce the O'Farrell Government would contribute $1.2 million toward a community health centre for the town. She said the NSW Government had lodged an application for $4.8 million in funding toward the project from the Federal Government's Health and Hospitals fund.

Mrs Skinner said for many years comments had been made about the lack of funding for North Coast health services.

"There has been an increase in funding this year but I don't think it's enough to take it up to that amount ($70 million)," Mrs Skinner said.

She could not say how much the funding had increased.

She said all health services across the State were under-funded and a new agreement between the State and Federal governments would hopefully address the shortfall.

"Under the new COAG agreement we are going to see funding provided under a different basis with activity-based funding so we will see some adjustment in that figure."

In his report, Peter Garling SC said the $70 million shortfall in funding for the area was due to the North Coast being a Nationals stronghold; the previous Labor government reluctant to pour money into the region.

Northern NSW local health district CEO Chris Crawford said the region had received some increased funding but the $70 million shortfall had not been completely addressed.



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