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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2274


Mr RAMSEY (GreyGovernment Whip) (14:49): My question is to the Minister for Health. Will the minister update the House on how the coalition government's record investment in hospitals around Australia is benefiting patients in my electorate of Grey, and is the minister aware of an alternative approach that is damaging the delivery of services for the hardworking people of Australia?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (14:50): I want to thank the member for Grey, who's been a great champion for hospital and medical services in his electorate and right across South Australia in regional and rural towns. In particular, I know that, like many people, he was distressed when power was lost at the Port Augusta Hospital due to the incompetence of the South Australian government. It joins the long list of South Australian hospitals to have the lights turned out: Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Flinders Medical Centre, Mount Gambier and so many others.

Fortunately, we have been investing whilst they have been failing. At this level, across South Australia, we've invested a 26 per cent increase in support for South Australian hospitals—a 26 per cent increase, whilst the Weatherill government increased South Australian expenditure by six per cent over that same period. In the last full financial year, they decreased health expenditure by $7½ million. That's the reality of what is happening under Labor. It compares with the investment that we have put in and it compares with the growth which, in the member's own electorate, is even larger than the state average. Whereas our contribution has been an increase of 26 per cent on average across South Australia, within the member for Grey's electorate the local hospital district has seen a 31½ per cent increase in funding under us.

What we see there is a very clear statement of commitment to health, commitment to funding and reliability under us, compared to not just an utter failure of investment but a complete failure to be able to keep the lights on in South Australian hospitals. This isn't trivial; this is fundamentally significant. It goes to a test of competence as a government, competence as economic managers and competence as people running a medical system.

On top of prisoners being shackled in hospitals for days and people waiting for mental health beds for days, today we have the latest revelation about the Fawlty Towers that is the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The SPEAKER: The member for Franklin on a point of order.

Ms Collins: Thank you: on relevance. The minister might like to talk about all the mental health patients waiting in Tasmania today.

The SPEAKER: That point of order, I have to say, is disorderly. The question did not talk specifically about one state. I appreciate the member's from that state, but a repeat of that will see her ejected. She's warned.

Mr HUNT: It was a desperate cry for relevance, because not only do we see another revelation in the Adelaide Advertiser about ambos being diverted as hospital EDs overflow, most notably in the Royal Adelaide Hospital, but today is the last day you would raise an issue about mental health and patients if you were the opposition, given what has occurred in South Australia. The royal commission, which the Attorney-General set out, is a damning indictment of the South Australian government. The Premier should resign and the government should be turfed out. It is one of the great disgraces in Australian mental health care history. (Time expired)