Flood bill may threaten health reform agenda

The damage and clean-up bill for the Commonwealth following the devastating floods across the eastern states could put the Government’s health reform agenda in further jeopardy, leading health economists warn.

The damage bill for Queensland alone has been estimated at around $30 billion. 

With the bulk of the cost burden set to be borne by the Federal Government, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was last week forced to confirm there would be spending cutbacks as she reaffirmed her commitment to a budget surplus by 2012.

A proposed federal flood tax also made media headlines last week.

WA-based health economist Professor Gavin Mooney said that with health reform “delicately poised”, the required shift in Government focus towards rebuilding flood-damaged areas of Australia could see its health reform process sidelined.

“If the Government does not implement a levy, then I would say that the healthcare