The ACT Liberal Democratic Party believes that you are the best person to manage your health.

The ACT Liberal Democratics acknowledge renewing independence and reducing government interference in the right of individuals to manage their own health will take generational change.

We reject assertions such as: ‘reducing funding to health will always result in less or worse service provision’. Rather, we believe that rapidly increasing health costs in the ACT and Australia means that governments will have to find smarter ways to provide services.

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party:

  1. Supports a society that favours individual responsibility and civic institutions rather than government funded welfare.
  2. Believes individuals should take responsibility for themselves and their dependents before seeking the support of strangers via their taxes.
  3. Believes in providing support for those in genuine need.
  4. Believes governments should be limited to a regulatory role and, to the fullest extent possible, not be involved in the provision of services.

Government spending on health is the largest item in the Territory’s budget. Each year this spending increases far above population growth, inflation and other factors such as an ageing population. The current Labor government has been forced to concede that the “ACT Government will be forced to reduce [health services] growth from historic growth in Commonwealth funding of around 11 per cent to around 5 per cent per annum”1.

The Labor government misses the point. It argues in the ACT budget papers that the “biggest health spend ever” is a positive thing. Rather, the ACT Government like all other states and territories must learn to do more with less by reducing inefficiencies, poor practices and removing needless red tape.

An audit report in 2009 found that there was intentional misreporting by senior managers of the Canberra Hospital. The ACT Liberal Democrats would immediately call for a comprehensive and independent audit of services to ensure that issues identified in 2009 have been addressed.

The ACT Liberal Democrats do not support the current interference from the federal government in ACT health policy and its conditional health funding arrangements.

Assuming that the current federal system remains in place, the ACT Liberal Democrats will focus on the following initiatives to address the unsustainable growth in public health spending:

  1. Reduce the regulatory burden on doctors and nurses. We will seek to provide doctors and health professionals with more freedom to determine appropriate treatments allowing them to focus on health outcomes (not the process). This includes:
      a. removing bureaucrats from dictating clinical paths,
      b. removing unnecessary testing, and
      c. encouraging proactive health management
  2. Support investment in technologies that will make the health system and hospitals more efficient.
  3. Redirect hospital funding towards more ‘care in the home’ programs that will reduce the number of hospital admissions and are more cost-effective. We believe that chronic conditions better managed by doctors and health professionals outside the hospital.
  4. Refocus reporting requirements on hospitals towards more decision useful information.
  5. Increase the focus on health issues through education at a young age by:
      a. providing a disincentive to avoiding physical activity at schools through reducing the value of the school voucher; and
      b. providing an incentive for schools to include healthy food choices.
  6. Strongly supporting any community groups that provide physical recreational activates through, for example, unrestricted use of public land.
  7. Allow the recommendation of cannabis or its derivatives for medical use by authorised medical practitioners.

Reference:

1. Page 30, Chapter 2, 2015-16 Budget Paper No. 3. report