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Australian Election Campaign Shifts Focus to Health
Source: abc.net.au
Source Date: Thursday, August 05, 2010
Country: Australia
Created: Aug 08, 2010

The Australian Opposition will unveil its health policy, committing almost $US3.2 billion for new hospital beds and extended GP services.

The Coalition says the money would fund 2,800 new beds and install community-controlled boards at all public hospitals in the country.

Health spokesman Peter Dutton says GPs' surgeries will get grants to expand their services, and the Medicare rebate for after-hours services will be increased.

Mr Dutton says there are plenty of GPs who are happy to see patients after hours.

"Increasingly women who are wanting to re-enter the workforce particularly on a part-time basis," he said.

"Overseas-trained doctors, younger doctors who want flexibility in their working hours, are working in after-hours arrangements, and that's why we wanted to put a massive investment into helping expand those after-hours services."

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon says voters should not be seduced by the Coalition's spending pledges.

"He's pledging to take with one hand and give with another," she said.

"He is walking away from all of the massive reforms agreed to only months ago with the states and territories and wants to throw that all in the bin."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is continuing her campaign focus on North Queensland by starting her day in Townsville.
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