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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1910

Health


Mr WILSON (O'Connor) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Health. I refer the minister to the Karratha GP superclinic in Western Australia that was promised more than three years ago, is still not open, and is yet to see a single patient. How have the delays to this clinic affected the delivery of health services in Karratha?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Health and Minister for Sport) (14:51): I thank the member for his question. He is a great champion of rural health services. And it is great to see John Anderson up in the gallery today; he did a lot for rural health services around the country. This government is intent on making sure that we can get money back to front-line services. Labor left an incredible mess for us—accumulated deficits of $123 billion; $667 billion of debt—and they spent money like it was going out of fashion in the health portfolio on all sorts of crazy schemes and new bureaucracies. There were lots of funds spent that just did not go to front-line services.

When you scratch below the surface of the GP superclinics scheme—because on the surface I think it looks okay; it has a good title; it looks okay—you do not have to scratch too much before you see that it is a nasty program. The GP Super Clinics Program has a nasty undertone. You do not have to poke too much into the GP Super Clinics Program to see a really nasty undertone to it.

Who could have presided over that program? You have guessed it. It is our friend who is quickly engaging in conversation with the member for GroceryWatch and Fuelwatch. They obviously collaborated well before, as well, when they were in government, to come up with equally disastrous programs. But what we know about the GP Super Clinics Program is that the program was $650 million of borrowed money—wasted money.

If you have a look at Western Australia, my good friend points out one example, but I asked my office to go and have a look at what the situation is with the GP superclinics promised by Labor in Western Australia, bearing in mind that this was taxpayers' money borrowed to go out and set up clinics in competition with existing doctors' clinics. Lo and behold, where they have been set up, the doctors have been poached from the existing clinics to go and work in the superclinics, to no better health outcomes.

But, if you look at Western Australia in detail, Labor promised six GP superclinics. Some they promised twice. I will go through them. In 2007, they promised Wanneroo. In 2010, they promised Wanneroo. It is still not built. In 2010, they promised Rockingham. It is still not built, here in 2014. Northam was promised in 2010—not built. Midland was promised in 2007 and again promised in 2010. It is open. Well done: one out of six. That is great. Not a bad achievement for the Labor Party. Let us go to Karratha. In 2010 it was promised. It is not open. And it is the same in Cockburn: promised in 2007, promised in 2010 and not delivered.

We will clean up the mess that Labor left behind in health. We will get more money back to front-line services. We will rebuild general practice, not attack the doctors like Labor did. We will rebuild the health system for the 21st century.