UPDATE, Tuesday, 1PM:
SENATOR for Victoria Michael Ronaldson says Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has misled people about the cause of and reason for the reduction in funding to Bendigo Health.
“It is simply irresponsible that the Member for Bendigo has misled the Bendigo community about health cuts which were a direct result of former Prime Minister Gillard signing the 2011 National Health Reform Agreement," he said.
The agreement set out a range of factors, including activity in the hospitals and population growth, which determine annual funding allocations from the Federal Government to each state - meaning funding levels will vary from year to year.
“This deliberate and callous action created great uncertainty for Victoria, coming as it did mid-financial year and by withdrawing money Victoria had already factored into its budgets.”
“It may be April Fool’s Day today, but the people of Bendigo will not be taken for fools and will see Ms Chesters’ comments for what they are."
Minister for Health Peter Dutton said: “the simple truth is that Labor cut funding to public hospitals by $1.5 billion in the 2012-13 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) based on its agreement with the states.”
"The Coalition Government inherited this agreement and in the 2013-14 MYEFO provided additional funding ($66.3 million) to public hospitals so that they would not face a second year of uncertainty.”
CHANGES to the federal government's health budget will see at least $7 million funding slashed from Bendigo Health.
Speaking outside the Bendigo hospital on Monday, Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said Kyneton, Heathcote, Castlemaine and Maldon would also face funding cuts.
"This was actually handed down to the states back in December in what they call the mid-year budget," she said.
"But the state governments were very quiet on it and it's only come out now.
"So we're on the eve of a new budget so who knows if there are going to be further cuts to hospital funding."
Ms Chesters said Liberal premiers should be taking a stand and standing up to Tony Abbott.
"This is another attack by the Abbott government on our public health system ...central Victorians deserve better than having Abbott and Napthine cutting our vital health system funding," she said.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards have slammed Premier Denis Napthine for "staying silent".
“Bendigo Hospital is already struggling under the weight of Denis Napthine’s Budget cuts," Ms Allan said.
Premier Denis Napthine said the government had provided record level funding for Victoria’s hospitals.
"We know in Victoria that there is always a demand for increased funding in health," he said.
“We’re investing in new hospitals, hospital infrastructure, and of course in recurrent funding. But we need a shared partnership from the federal government to continue supporting the growth of service to meet the demands of our growing Victorian community.
"We need the federal government to outline their commitment to ongoing health funding ...”
The federal government has also been contacted.