The Abbott Government is proposing a bill that would cost the taxpayer more than $6 billion in healthcare, hospital, education and other government spending.
But Health Minister Sussan Ley has defended the decision, arguing the $6bn figure was “very conservative”.
“It’s a pretty good estimate for the costs,” she told reporters on Thursday.
“We’re not going to be making any cuts.
Ms Ley has repeatedly argued that the legislation is necessary because there is no evidence of harm from the drug. “
But it’s a good estimate and it’s really good for us to look at the overall costs of the bill.”
Ms Ley has repeatedly argued that the legislation is necessary because there is no evidence of harm from the drug.
But Ms Ley also defended the cost of the legislation.
Ms Health says the $5.5 billion in spending for medical cannabis would be passed onto Australians through the budget and be paid back through increased taxes.
It is estimated the legislation would reduce hospital admissions by 2.3 per cent a year, reduce the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease by 20 per cent and reduce the cost to the health system of $4.6 billion.
Labor’s health spokesman Justin Gleeson told ABC Radio Melbourne that the figure was a “conservative” estimate because it would depend on how the legislation was implemented.
He said it would also depend on the level of medical cannabis the Government decides to offer to patients.
However, he said the figure did not include the cost on health care.
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