Joyce slams Grafton Hospital cuts claim: ‘It’s BS’

DEPUTY Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says claims of funding cuts to Grafton Base Hospital are "wild statements" occurring at the back end of the election campaign.


Mr Joyce was in Grafton late yesterday to ram home the Federal Government's message that people should be careful with their vote.

"One wild statement: we're going to privatise Medicare. No we're not," Mr Joyce said.

"The other one. We're going to cut funding to Grafton Hospital. No we're not.

"I would put the same credibility on cutting Medicare as cutting Grafton Hospital. They belong in the same box.

"The same box with we're going to tear down the bridge across the Clarence River and reinstall a punt.

"That's a great story. It will certainly get people's attention. It's just that it's a load of BS."

Yesterday the ALP candidate for Page, Janelle Saffin, Labor attacked the Nationals for failing to deliver on promised funding for the Grafton Base Hospital.

Ms Saffin said the Nationals had allowed budget cuts in Federal funding for hospitals by $57 billion over 10 years - and the results of these cuts were already affecting people in regional Australia.

"Mr Hogan keeps repeating the line that they have increased funding. I think he has even talked himself into this big lie. What nonsense. Hasn't he read his own budget papers?

"The failure of the Liberal-National Government in NSW to deliver the promised $7m upgrade to the Grafton Base Hospital is a clear example of how the Nationals have gone missing in action. Clarence Valley has traditionally missed out on health funding.

"The allocation of just $121,000 to a $7 million project is an insult to the local community. The people of the Clarence Valley need and deserve a new, modern facility that meets their needs - as they were promised."

Mr Joyce warned Page voters to take their vote seriously on Saturday.

"There is a choice in the election between the Green/Labor/Independent Alliance, which I call the Glee Club, or a Liberal/National government," Mr Joyce said.

"To say that the Labor Party could get there without Green preferences. They couldn't.

"To say that the independents have found a new form of politics that doesn't involve having to be part of a government is ridiculous.

"And to say that somehow Mr Shorten's of the same capability as Mr Turnbull in running the country I don't think that's a viable statement."

He said the vote in Page could be decisive.

"When you cast your vote, you're making a call for which way the country goes," he said.

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