Tax to put pressure on hospitals

SOME state governments are ringing alarm bells about the impact of the carbon tax on hospitals, with a prediction each bed will cost an extra $2425 a year.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said this was the figure coming out of Queensland Treasury, and was an average for public hospitals across the state.

He said Queensland would be the worst hit due to the way the power supply is subsidised in this state.

"Different state governments have all done that same exercise of analysis, and these are the figures they have come up with," Mr Christensen said.

Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia have all released their carbon tax analysis, calculating how much of their public hospital budget is returned to Canberra as carbon tax.

Queensland Health faces a carbon tax impact on hospitals and health services of $280 million by 2020, starting with a $30 million in 2013, rising to $38 million in 2016.

"That's equivalent to $2425 per public hospital bed per year," Mr Christensen said.

He said this may well compromise hospital services in Mackay.

"While I sincerely doubt this will cut services, it will lead to a bigger health budget as public hospitals will rack up more Sate debt," he said.

"The flip side is private hospitals like the Mater, they will just have to wear it, and pass on the increased costs to the consumer."

Mackay Health and Hospital Services chairman Col Meng said it was too early to comment on what impact the carbon tax might have.

"We are working on budgets and contracts all the time, but I couldn't comment yet on increased electricity costs due to the carbon tax," he said.

Mr Christensen said the people who do know are the number crunchers in Treasury.

"They've got the data and they know what the costs were last year, and what the increase will be," Mr Christensen said.



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