One of the worst examples of the Liberal government's political spin is its constant boasting of "record health funding".
As long as more funding is provided than for the previous year the government will always be able to claim a "record".
The alternative, of course, is providing less money. That is, cutting health spending and, with it, services. Unless, of course, the government can find a way to do more with less, but that's as likely as a quiet emergency department on a Saturday night.
What makes the spin so hard to swallow is the deliberate underfunding of health.
Every budget the government has allocated only a little more - and sometimes less - than it knows it will have actually spent in the current year.
Since costs only go in one direction, that's setting the health department up to blow its budget and require a "top up". And we've seen this occur yet again this week.
In the Revised Estimates Report released on Tuesday, Treasurer, and now Premier, Peter Gutwein announced an additional $600 million over four years for health, and a quarantining of health from further budget savings over the forward estimates.
"This investment will lock in our current resourcing to address the unprecedented demand on our hospitals and will underpin improved health outcomes," he said.
In other words, the funds are largely, if not entirely, needed to pay for what our hospitals are already doing because they weren't given enough in the budget.
The government cannot blame "unprecedented demand" or any other factors beyond its control.
It is knowingly allocating less funds than Tasmania's health system will need because it wants to make its budget bottom-line appear somewhat healthier.
In the last financial year, for example, health was allocated $1.8 billion but was estimated to have spent $1.95 billion, meaning it blew its budget by a massive 8 per cent.
The government doesn't deserve a pat on the back for finding more money for our hospitals; it deserves a kick up the backside for not budgeting properly in the first place.
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