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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2508

South Australia: Health and Aged Care


Ms FLINT (Boothby) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister update the House on how the coalition government's record support for the South Australian health and aged-care system compares to other approaches? How will this impact on the delivery of services for people in my electorate of Boothby?


Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (14:56): I want to thank the member for Boothby, who's been a great champion of projects such as the Flinders Eye Centre glaucoma project, a $9½ million coalition investment in research and treatment for glaucoma. More than that, though, she's been an advocate for South Australian hospital funding, and she's seen a 26 per cent increase in federal funding on our watch so far, increasing to 47 per cent over the course of the forward estimates, which compares with a six per cent increase from state Labor under their watch over the same period for their own hospitals—a measly six per cent, made all the worse by the fact that, in the last full year of funding, they cut health funding by $7½ million.

These things come with consequences, of course, when you make a cut like that. It's no surprise that they can't keep the electricity running and they can't keep the generators running either. That's why, in her electorate, we saw the Flinders Medical Centre lose power with tragic consequences. We saw Mount Gambier Hospital lose power. We saw Port Augusta Hospital lose power. We've seen the Fawlty Towers which the Royal Adelaide Hospital has become. It lost power. It shackled prisoners. It kept patients for days in the emergency department.

But all of this pales in comparison with the catastrophic outcomes that were highlighted in the findings of the ICAC report into the Oakden aged-care centre, a South Australian government run centre. What that report found wasn't just local mismanagement. It found that at the state level there were fundamental failures of management. In particular, the ICAC report found—and I quote—that the minister formerly responsible under the Weatherill government 'took every opportunity available to deflect any possible criticism of her onto others'. She blamed others for mistakes or failings whenever and wherever possible. But, even worse than that, the ICAC report found that an SA Labor minister confirmed to ICAC—and I quote—that the government:

… did not want to take on the unions three months before an election … and this was likely the reason why nothing was done …

Four years ago they knew. Four years ago they turned a blind eye on abuse. Four years ago they made a decision that their union mates were more important than patients. The conclusion is very clear: this was an abrogation of duty that should cause the Premier to resign now, not in three weeks time, and the people of South Australia to turn out this worthless government.