Early voting is already open for the Victorian election on Saturday, 26 November.
Labor’s Daniel Andrews is seeking a third term as Premier. His opponent is Coalition leader Matthew Guy. Greens and independent candidates are expected to be competitive in seats across the state.
Over the next few days, we’ll summarise policy promises for a few key issues. In this post: health.
Issues with Victoria’s health system were aggravated by the pandemic. Earlier this year, a ‘code brown’ emergency was declared in Victoria’s hospitals due to “extreme pressure”.
Several months after COVID-related hospital admissions peaked, there have still been reports of ambulance delays, lengthy wait lists for elective surgeries, and a shortage of health workers.
Labor is promising to build two new hospitals, upgrade several others, and open 20 new women’s health clinics inside hospitals.
It also plans to pay for nursing or midwifery degrees for more than 10,000 students, and offer a $5,000 signing bonus for newly-graduated nurses for the next three years to encourage people to join the workforce.
It has also expanded access to free IVF, with new locations to be opened in several regional areas beginning early next year.
The Coalition is promising to expand funding to the health system by abandoning a suburban rail project.
It says funding will be used to expand the number of elective surgeries by 50,000, including by installing nine new robots in hospitals to assist with surgeries.
It has also committed to a number of new hospitals and hospital upgrades, and plans to fund scholarships for new and upskilling nurses and midwives.
The Greens are calling for a $5 billion health funding increase with a focus on mental health, dental care, and disease prevention.
Under their proposal, the money would employ more workers, fund worker pay rises by removing the current cap on wage increases for public sector workers, and free up hospital bed capacity.