Holes in regional health system ignored as sale proceeds ploughed into Metronet

The Nationals WA have condemned a McGowan Government decision to funnel the entire windfall from the sale of a taxpayer asset into a pet Perth project ahead of essential services under pressure in regional WA.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt today revealed that 100 per cent of the $185 million the State banked through the sale of the Government’s shareholding in Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) would be spent on Metronet.

Ms Davies said it was clear where the McGowan Government’s priorities lay.

“We are not opposed to rail infrastructure in the metropolitan area but Labor’s extravagant Perth election commitments continue to be prioritised over projects such as the flagged upgrades to Geraldton and Laverton hospitals and the Carnarvon aged care facility,” she said.

“Regional West Australians all pay tax and make up a quarter of the State population yet will see no return from the sale of this taxpayer asset. This decision sends another clear message that the McGowan Government does not care about regional WA.”

Ms Davies said the PEXA snub was a clear indication that Metronet would become a blight on the Budget in years to come.

“The Transport Minister has confessed the Government can’t put an accurate price tag on the entire project, which is already relying heavily on Commonwealth funding to prop it up,” she said.

“Labor’s Metrodebt rolls on as they take from the regions to fund Perth projects.”

The Nationals WA health spokesman Martin Aldridge said the Government had turned a blind eye to mounting evidence that country hospitals, specialist services and the mental health framework in regional WA were all facing serious challenges. 

“It is alarming that the Government would not think to address critical issues in the health portfolio before ploughing almost $200 million into a few extra kilometres of train tracks in Perth’s outer suburbs,” he said

“The Government’s fixation on funding its increasingly over-budget Metronet project is putting the health of regional West Australians at risk.

“Meanwhile we have a situation in Geraldton where an 84-year-old grandmother was forced to wait on the floor at the local hospital due to a lack of beds.

“We had a desperate Goldfields mother resort to travelling to Perth for her daughter’s developmental testing after waiting almost a year to try to access the service through Kalgoorlie Health Campus.

“The inability to attract and retain regional health staff, a severe shortage of mental health beds and ballooning wait times for elective surgeries are just some of the issues piling up in our country health system.”

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