21 January 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will help attract and retain health workers in Far North Queensland - and create local jobs - by investing in a new dedicated training facility at Cairns Hospital.

 This $60 million investment is part of Labor’s Fair Go Action Plan to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals.
Far North Queensland is facing a critical health workforce shortage that risks compromising the care Cairns residents are entitled to.
This shortage is exacerbated by the lack of a dedicated facility to train and develop doctors, nurses and allied health providers in Cairns. This makes it harder to attract health workers for their training, or retain them as they seek to develop over their careers.
Labor’s commitment to invest in a new Cairns University Hospital follows the ‘Cairns Convoy to Canberra’ last year, when we were briefed on the vision to transform Cairns Hospital into a new tertiary facility.
Our funding will include $10 million towards the purchase of the required land as well as $50 million to fully fund the James Cook University’s Tropical Enterprise Centre within a new Cairns University Hospital precinct.  
This is a project that will further diversify the Cairns local economy to support more good, local, secure jobs.
It also has the potential to open up a new world of international education, leveraging off strong growth in the local tourism sector to attract more medical students from the Asia-Pacific region.
When finished, the state-of-the-art facility will host:

  • Clinical training and development – helping to attract and retain health workers in both primary and acute care to Far North Queensland
  • Research – into regional priorities such as ATSI health, tropical medicine and equity of access
  • Innovation – such as a proposed project to deliver services closer to home through telehealth

The Centre will create hundreds of jobs during both the construction and operational phases and free up space at Cairns Hospital by moving all education and research functions to the new Centre.
This will allow Cairns Hospital to expand its clinical space within the existing footprint.
Labor’s Candidate for Leichhardt, Elida Faith, has been relentless in advocating for this project and this major commitment would not have happened without her work.
Labor believes Australian should get the best quality health care whenever they need it – no matter if you live in downtown Brisbane or Far North Queensland.
That’s why the last federal Labor Government invested $12m in Cairns Hospital through our Health and Hospitals Fund.
The Liberals on the other hand just cut and cut and cut from health. As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut from health and hospitals in every Budget he authored.
His government has cut $7.2 million from Cairns Hospital under the current 2017 to 2020 funding agreement.
That’s equivalent to 20 nurses, or 11,000 emergency department visits, or 17,500 outpatient appointments. And it’s part of a $160m cut to Queensland hospitals and a $715m cut nationwide.
Now Morrison is trying to lock in those cuts for another five years – a dud deal that the Queensland Labor Government is resisting.
Labor will reverse the Liberal cuts with our $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund, which we will use to kickstart the construction of this exciting new project.
Only Labor can be trusted to fix Queensland’s hospitals.