On 1 April 2020, the Andrews Labor government promised to fund an extra 4000 ICU beds as a protective measure to ensure our hospitals could cope with the expected influx of COVID-19 patients. Despite the Premier’s current denial of this promise, he was joined in making the announcement by the former health minister Jenny Mikakos, where she stated that Victoria’s health system will be receiving a $1.3 billion injection to quickly establish 4000 additional ICU beds. The most damning aspect of this broken promise and the Premier’s disingenuous denial is that no-one is surprised—not surprised by the promise, not surprised that it was never acted upon and not surprised that the Premier would lie and deny it.
This promise has not been met, and instead the number of existing ICU beds available has reduced from 450 to 400! The Andrews Labor government has failed to protect Victorians yet again. With over 800 Victorians having already lost their lives to the Labor government’s handling of the pandemic, we must not lose more.
Instead of answering questions and providing information about this project, the Premier simply denies it was ever promised. With such an untrustworthy government, there is no reason to expect these beds will ever be delivered and the $1.3 billion will follow so much other Victorian taxpayers money—down the bottomless pit of failed or failing Labor projects.
If the government had stuck to its promises, Victorians could have expected a clearer and quicker road map that uses modelling that takes into consideration higher capacity ICUs. Instead, our road map has been based on our underfunded hospital system, which has simply not been prepared for a pandemic.