Tomorrow, Tuesday the 25th of October, Peter Beattie Premier and Treasurer of Queensland will bring down a mini-budget aimed particularly at addressing trouble in Queensland’s health system. Much of what will be contained in the mini-budget has already been announced. The following is a summation of what is already known.
A $493.3 million capital injection from Queensland Treasury to rid Queensland Health of debt, much of which ($313.39 million) was accumulated prior to 1991 when community boards ran hospitals. This capital injection is aimed at relieving Queensland Health of the $30 million annual interest payments it currently pays.
The Beattie Government is also considering ways to increase the percentage of patients who choose to sue their private health cover when they are admitted to a public hospital. A range of ways to achieve this goal will be considered by a soon to be recruited health economist, who will be asked to report to the Government by 2006. Options to be looked at will include:
- making the indexation to existing fees and charges more comparable to other states and territories and better reflecting the increasing costs of medical equipment and facilities
- means testing or co-payments for the Spectacle Subsidy Scheme
- means testing or co-payment for adults accessing dental health services with an annual cap per person.
- means testing or co-payment for non-urgent surgery
- means testing or co-payments for specialist outpatient services for non-concession card holders
- legislative amendments to pursue the reimbursement of costs involved in treating patients who receive damage pay-outs for compensable injuries
- means testing or co-payments for the secondary safety net for pharmaceuticals.
In addition, the Premier has announced the establishment of the Service Delivery and Performance Commission, an independent statutory body, whose goal will be to identify savings of 1% across all public sector agencies. The Government expects that these savings will deliver an additional $20 million next financial year rising to $50 million a year each year after that.
In another development the Major Facilities Levy is to be renamed the Health Services Levy. This money is sourced from Poker Machines in Queensland, and the state wide cap on these machines will be lifted from 18 843 to 20 000. The Government reports that this approach will deliver approximately $40 million in 2006-07, rising to $55million by 2008-09.
Perhaps most significantly the Government has also taken the decision to adjust Transfer Duty charges, in a move expected to raise $82 million in 2006-07 rising to $94 million in 2008-9. The details of the changes are outlined in the two tables below.
Table 1 - New Transfer Duty Schedule
|On this part of the consideration or value||Current %||New (%)|
|$0 – $20 000||1.5||1.5|
|$20 001 - $50 000||2.25||2.25|
|$50 001 - $100 000||2.75||2.75|
|$100 001 - $250 000||3.25||3.25|
|$250 001 - $500 000||3.50||3.50|
|$500 001 - $700 000||3.75||4.00|
Table 2 Transfer Duty Payable
|Value of Property Transfer ($)||Additional Duty Payable|
|Standard Duty1||Home Purchase2|
|900 000||2 000||1 500|
|1 000 000||2 750||2 250|
1 Duty applied to all transfers other than principal place of residence
2 Duty applied to purchase of principal place of residence