Members may have noticed an increase in election activity and some initial advertising from the Victorian Liberal Party.

The advertising has Matthew Guy promising to put significant funding into Victoria’s healthcare system.

However, we know from experience that we can’t trust the Liberals when it comes to Victoria’s healthcare system.

It is hard not to see their promises as cynical politics given the Liberal Party’s historical enmity to universal health care and public health.

The last time they were in power they looked to cut funding from healthcare. Under the Liberals, health services struggled to deliver the healthcare Victorians needed. They even tried to replace nurses with unqualified ‘nursing assistants’ in an attempt to save money, which was thwarted in the end.

What we heard from the Liberals during the initial stages of the pandemic was sniping and criticism.

Under the Liberals, Victorians would’ve been left to battle a dangerous virus without the support needed. There would’ve been no assistance for those struggling financially and no ramping up of health services to deal with an influx of patients.

Instead of supporting the government, the Liberals were quick to undermine public safety messages about social distancing and wearing masks. They insisted that the pandemic wasn’t as bad as was suggested by our medical experts and that people should be free to travel, work and socialise, despite all the scientific advice to the contrary.

Hardly the sort of government we need, especially as the pandemic is still going, with 2022 being the deadliest year of the COVID-19 pandemic to-date.

We also shouldn’t forget that under Jeff Kennett they introduced changes which resulted in each health service no longer being entirely answerable to the Department of Health, which made responding to COVID-19 in a more coordinated and direct way much more difficult.

Even now, Matthew Guy, claims there will be no more lockdowns.

Such claims are dangerous and fails to recognise how quickly the current pandemic could escalate despite the work done to contain COVID-19. It also fails to recognise the potential for future pandemics and the damage they may do.

We can’t and won’t forget that the last time the Liberals were in charge they did next to nothing to address mental health issues or the growing workloads around mental health care.

There has been no commitment from the Liberals about fulfilling the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

They did very little to address the growing workloads swamping health services when they were last in government. In fact, the Liberals wanted people working in Victoria’s healthcare system to work longer hours with fewer resources and less funding.

Let’s also remember the waves of redundancies applied by the Liberals in pathology services, which led to downgraded capacity and reduced quality, to the extent that desperate action was needed to ensure we had the capacity to deliver levels of COVID testing required to launch our response to the COVID

Frankly, the Liberals don’t seem to understand the problems facing Victoria’s healthcare system.

Matthew Guy constantly saying that he will fix the healthcare system means nothing without any detail; and we all know the devil is in the detail.

It’s easy to make “pledges” about building hospitals and funding triple-zero but until there are details which can be scrutinised by the public, we should be extremely sceptical about the validity of the Liberals’ “plans” for our healthcare system.

There is little doubt in my mind that under the Liberals, all the gains we have made in recent agreements, and our lobbying work to address workload issues by significantly increasing numbers for scientists, psychologists and pharmacists will be wound back and ultimately undone.

We will continue to highlight issues as the state election comes up.

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