Federal budget 2014: Clogged hospitals a concern, says Victorian Treasurer

Clogged hospitals due to patients skipping GPs to avoid new co-payments and the federal government "stepping back" from funding hospitals and schools is concerning, Victorian Treasurer Michael O'Brien says.

A week after Mr O'Brien outlined Victoria's budget, the State Treasurer said there was good and bad news in the federal budget, including confirmation of Commonwealth funding for major road projects.

On the negative side, Mr O'Brien said the Napthine government would closely monitor the $7 fee increase to see a doctor.

"We don't want to see people deciding they are not going to see their GP because of this co-payment and they wind up clogging up our emergency departments in our hospitals with things which are really more appropriately seen by a GP,'' Mr O'Brien told 3AW radio on Tuesday night.

The Victorian government is also concerned about the longer term reduction in federal funding for state hospitals and schools.

"The state budget has put extra money into our hospitals, and extra money into our schools, and we will be very concerned if the federal government is, sort of, stepping back over the next decade,'' Mr O'Brien said.

"Victoria will continue to meet its obligations, as outlined in the state budget, however no state or territory is in a position to fill all funding gaps left by the Commonwealth.''

The Treasurer also said the Victorian government would be trying to ensure Victoria got its fair share of federal infrastructure funding.

Mr O'Brien welcomed the $20 billion medical fund, saying research was a strength in Victoria.

The state opposition will seize on funding cuts and rises in cost of living in its campaign to win office from the Coalition in November.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Mr Hockey's budget hit Victoria harder than any other state.

"And it hits families hardest of all. Under Tony Abbott, Denis Napthine and the Liberals, the crisis in our schools, TAFEs and hospitals will get even worse,'' Mr Andrews said.

"Denis Napthine won't speak up, because he's signed up to Tony Abbott's budget."

Mr O'Brien said he believed Victorians were smart enough to differentiate between state and federal politics at this November's state poll.

"They (the state ALP) are going to try and make the next state election a referendum on Tony Abbott, but that just shows you that they don't have any ideas of their own,'' Mr O'Brien said.

This story Federal budget 2014: Clogged hospitals a concern, says Victorian Treasurer first appeared on The Age.