Labor on notice after promise to make regional health a Budget priority
The McGowan Government is on notice after its MPs voted to support a call by The Nationals WA to prioritise regional healthcare funding and services, including palliative care, in the upcoming State Budget.
Leader Mia Davies moved a “matter of public interest” in Parliament on 20 March, demanding the Government place a higher priority on country health following more than two years of cuts in the bush.
“I welcome the fact the Health Minister and Labor MPs supported our motion,” Ms Davies said.
“They are now on the record saying regional health must be a priority for the Budget.”
WATCH Mia Davies contribution HERE
Following eight years of revitalisation and renewal under The Nationals and Royalties for Regions, investment in WA’s regional health system screeched to a halt under Labor.
“In their first two years in power the McGowan Government has cut funding or delayed a range of regional health projects including, amongst others, Tom Price Hospital, Meekatharra Hospital, Mount Magnet Nursing Post, Paraburdoo Nursing Post, the Turquoise Coast Health initiative, the North West Health Care initiative, Laverton Hospital and Carnarvon aged care,” Ms Davies said.
Delayed upgrades to Newman and Geraldton hospitals have also fuelled the community’s mistrust.
Ms Davies said Labor’s only successes in the regional health space since coming to Government were cutting the ribbon on projects started and funded by The Nationals while in Government.
“The Nationals in Government made regional health a priority, investing millions. Labor has done the opposite; slashing funds from the Budget and leaving our communities vulnerable,” Ms Davies said.
“Labor champion Telehealth and other initiatives started by The Nationals because we utilised Royalties for Regions to drive infrastructure projects which made a genuine difference in the lives of regional West Australians.
“Under Labor, Royalties for Regions has been bastardised and reduced to an account which the Government taps to subsidise the Water Corporation and the Public Transport Authority.”
Health spokesperson Martin Aldridge said the McGowan Government was failing regional WA when it came to health.
“While communities like Geraldton and Laverton struggle to cope with substandard health facilities, this Government ploughs every available dollar into Perth projects such as Metronet,” he said.