The Labor Party’s promise to spend $140 million on regional health facilities in the next decade is devoid of credibility.
“Labor has starved country hospitals of capital funds for more than a decade creating the backlog,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.
“In effect what Labor is now saying is that it will take them another decade to clear the backlog they have created.
“Why would country South Australians trust them with their health?
“In 2017, the Government committed almost a billion dollars for new hospital capital works, but it did not contain one dollar for capital investment in country hospitals.
“In the same year, it closed the Kalimna Hostel at Strathalbyn and curtailed surgical services at Yorketown Hospital because it was not willing to invest in these country facilities.
“In contrast, during 2017, the Liberal team committed to a $7.5m aged care facility at Strathalbyn, a $300,000 investment in Yorketown and a $2m upgrade to renal services at Mount Gambier.
“Labor can’t be trusted - leopards don’t change their spots just two months from the election.
“Labor’s announcement focuses on maintenance – it is a patch-up job launched as part of a PR tour.
“Country people are sick and tired of being told by Labor that the RAH is the biggest country hospital. Labor doesn’t get the regions.
“Labor doesn’t understand that access to quality health services in the country is vital to lifting the unacceptable health outcomes amongst regional South Australians.
“SA Best, for its part, hasn’t even bothered to release a country health policy yet.
“Indeed, so lacking is Nick Xenophon’s health policy that yesterday the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Association scored it zero out ten.
“Only the Liberal Party is fully committed to investing in Country Health to ensure that South Australians in the regions get access to the facilities and the care they need.
“We have also announced Investing in Country Health which will see local communities across regional SA engaged in developing their local health services and country hospitals.
“Country South Australians have a long tradition of raising funds locally which help meet the health needs of communities, in particular, through buildings, upgrades and equipment.
“The State Liberals will empower Health Advisory Councils to control their trust funds, ensuring local funds meet local needs – protecting private donations and enabling local management of bequests.
“These commitments will see millions of dollars returned to country communities to help fix Jay Weatherill’s country hospital mess.”