POISONED CHALICE: Miles’ $1b cuts nightmare
Steven Miles might have to brush up on The Magic Pudding if he's still health minister after Saturday's state election.
That's because he has just been handed the job of finding over $1 billion worth of cuts in order to fund Labor's promise to hire 9000 extra health staff over the next four years.
Treasurer Cameron Dick reckons this task should actually be a cinch - easily done, he said yesterday.
But that raises the question of why he didn't do it when he was health minister last term.
Miles, who has waved around the famed Aussie children's book to taunt Deb Frecklington about cuts during the election campaign, will be having to find savings from a department that routinely blows its budget.
He'll have to do it at a time when demand for the public health system is escalating and surgery wait times have grown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Queensland Health does have an $18.5 billion budget, which provides some perspective to the $270 million-a-year in savings Miles will need to find.
But when you consider $1 billion is also the cost of the entire Cairns health system each year, it demonstrates this isn't going to be easy.
Ordering health staff to print on both sides of the paper or telling hospitals to reuse catheters isn't going to cut it.
Miles might have spent yesterday lambasting Clive Palmer for his fake claims about the Labor Government planning to introduce a death tax.
But if he's facing the prospect of finding cuts in Queensland Health after the election, a death tax might start to seem like not such a bad idea.
Originally published as From Magic Pudding to poisoned chalice: Miles' $1b cuts nightmare