The announcement of a $316 million budget surplus is a slap in the face for Health Professionals working in Victoria’s Community Health Centres and public hospitals.

Craig McGregor, Secretary of the Victorian Health Professionals Association (VHPA) said the Napthine Government’s budget bottom line has come at the expense of a lack of support for the provision of quality healthcare for all Victorians.

“The final surplus is almost 80% bigger than its most recent forecast.

“But this is not surprising given the appalling record of underpaying Health Professionals and under-funding quality healthcare in this state,” said Mr McGregor.

Health Professionals working in Victoria’s Community Health Centres have been without a pay rise for three years.

The lack of decent pay and conditions for staff is exacerbating the problem of retaining quality carers in a sector that plays an essential role in delivering primary healthcare to the chronically ill and other disadvantaged groups in local communities.

Thousands of Health Professionals working in the state’s public hospitals are also still waiting for the roll-out of a promised injection of $15 million a year into their professional development and career support.

This is an outstanding issue from the last round of pay negotiations that started more than two years ago.

“This budget surplus is nothing to be proud of,” said Mr McGregor.

“It simply shows the bean-counters in Treasury are putting the squeeze on the Health Department and other agencies that provide care for Victorians through our hospitals, healthcare and other essential services.

“Instead of a budget strategy that favours penny-pinching the Government should be investing in better pay, conditions and training so Health Professionals can deliver the best quality healthcare and services for Victorians,” said Mr McGregor.

Media Contact:      Ian Wilson – ph 0434 797 124

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