Vic premier grilled on budget health cash

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Victoria's premier has been grilled on the state's health-centric budget and an unfulfilled COVID-19 promise for extra intensive care beds.

Daniel Andrews defended the latest budget appearing to show a fall in overall health spending from $27.05 billion in 2021/22 to $25.02 billion in 2022/23, while appearing at a parliamentary committee on Friday.

The budget was billed as providing a $12 billion "boost" for health and the $2 billion decrease in the budget papers was connected to previous COVID-19 pandemic funding, Mr Andrews told to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.

"Would you like us to keep spending on vaccines, would you like us to keep spending on testing cycles, would you like us to keep buying RATs (rapid antigen tests) at levels that are no longer appropriate," he asked under questioning from Nationals MP Danny O'Brien.

"Your suggestion is completely and utterly wrong."

Mr O'Brien also raised the Victorian government's pledge to set up 4000 ICU beds in a press release in April 2020, days after the state entered its first lockdown.

"That's more than two years ago, premier. Why didn't you prepare our health system because we're now seeing a crisis?" the deputy chair said.

Mr Andrews replied: "I'm very pleased that we did not need to have 4000 people in intensive care."

Victoria's number of intensive care patients peaked at 163 on October 16, 2021 during the state's Delta wave.

Earlier, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas defended billions of dollars in infrastructure project cost blowouts.

The budget confirmed cost increases for a number of major infrastructure projects, including $3.9 billion on the problem-plagued West Gate Tunnel.

Taxpayers will pay $1.9 billion of that, along with an extra $503.6 million and $512.9 million each to build new hospitals in Footscray and Frankston.

"We're not alone when dealing with the challenges that we confront around commodity price rises, from resourcing price rises, skill shortages and a lack of competition because of an overabundance of government activity around construction," he said.

"If you look at this year's total escalation, it's around four per cent."

But Mr O'Brien rejected his justification, claiming the state government has racked up $28 billion in project cost blowouts over its past two terms.

Mr Pallas earlier this week requested Australia's financial watchdog run the rule over the federal government's future infrastructure funding commitments to Victoria.

In a letter on Tuesdayto Auditor-General Grant Hehir he asked him to review whether Victoria had been "short-changed" by the Commonwealth in its March budget and how decisions were made.

The Victorian government has repeatedly criticised the federal government over Victoria's share of infrastructure spending, the proposed GST carve-up and not receiving Commonwealth funding for a "city deal".

The auditor-general is considering the request.

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