Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam says the McGowan Labor Government’s announcement of $1.2 billion investment in health infrastructure is a hodge podge of half-funded and already announced projects together with normal asset replacement all wrapped up with a ribbon and presented as a shiny new toy.
“The people of Western Australia will not be fooled by what is another smoke and mirrors trick of the McGowan Government to hide its ongoing under investment in our broken public health system and inability to actually deliver health infrastructure or make it a priority,” Ms Mettam said.
“Last year’s Budget allocated $473 million for health capital works in 2023-24, the Mid-Year review added $129 million and then add last week’s announcement of $218.9 million for Graylands and you’ve got $800 million that’s already committed.
“Subtract that $800 million from today’s $1.2 billion announcement and you’re left with $400 million over four years; which falls well short of what is needed to relieve the pressure points in our health system.
“To be asking for a pat on the back for replacing ageing medical equipment and maintaining hospital buildings, both of which are bread and butter functions of government, points to a Government desperate for accolades and out of ideas.”
Ms Mettam said the commitment to buy an additional 60 beds and three operating rooms at St John of God Public Hospital in Midland was too little too late for a public hospital system under considerable stress.
“Expansion in bed capacity is desperately needed, but this is catch up mode for a system that has seven of the eight worst performing emergency departments in the country and went into the Covid pandemic with fewer beds per head of population than any other state,” Ms Mettam said.
“These tens of thousands of workers the Government says it will bring to WA will not only have nowhere to live, they won’t be able to rely on a hospital bed when they are sick.”