Health Minister Steven Miles is demanding payment from NSW. Picture: Annette Dew
Health Minister Steven Miles is demanding payment from NSW. Picture: Annette Dew

NSW accused of $20m rip-off of Qld taxpayers

Queensland has recorded no new COVID-19 cases overnight once again, meaning just six active cases remain across the state.

It comes as the state has been stiffed $20 million in unpaid hospital bills by NSW, leading to debt collection action from the Palaszczuk Government.

The Sunday Mail can reveal the NSW Government is refusing to pay an outstanding bill it owes under the country's reciprocal health arrangements, under which people from any state can be treated for free anywhere in Australia.

Under the deal, their respective state government is meant to repay the costs under a running tally that is settled every few years.

But in a dispute that has been raging for the past few months, the Berejiklian Government has only paid $79.2 million of a $98.6 million bill its racked up between 2015 to 2018/19.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said NSW had effectively capped how many people it would pay to be treated in Queensland hospitals each year by backdating a 2 per cent limit on annual increases without telling Queensland.

Mr Miles said $20 million would fund surgeries or other hospital admissions for over 4,400 people or pay the wages of over 100 frontline doctors, nurses and health practitioners.

The Queensland Government has now written to the national pricing authority in an attempt to recover the outstanding debt.

It comes after a public spat over whether Queensland's border restrictions were limiting healthcare to NSW residents.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone

Mr Miles said Queensland was happy to treat NSW patients but it was unfair to expect Queenslanders to pay for it.

"Our hospitals never turn anyone away," he said.

"People who require care always get the treatment they need. In fact, we treat nearly 1,000 New South Wales residents every week," he said.

"NSW has essentially capped the number of their residents they will pay for treatment in Queensland.

"When it's the other way round, NSW expects us to pay for our residents - and we do.

"Queensland is simply asking NSW to do the same - it's only fair."

Mr Miles said $20 million would fund surgeries or other hospital admissions for over 4,400 people or pay the wages of over 100 frontline doctors, nurses and health practitioners.

"This is significant funding that would otherwise be invested in more care," he said.

Mr Miles has asked the Independent Pricing Authority to assess the legality of NSW's secret policy change.


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