Health Minister dodges direct questions

May 24, 2022 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

Labor’s Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson has refused to provide answers during Budget Estimates today, when asked by the Opposition to clarify the true extent of workforce shortages plaguing the health system.

Leader Mia Davies said the Health Minister deflected these questions and directed the Opposition to place them on notice, meaning answers would not be available for at least 45 days.

“The Minister has failed to take the Budget Estimates process seriously, preferring to dodge questions that she couldn’t or wouldn’t answer,” Ms Davies said.

“It’s either incompetency or deception, because we know the Department would have data on staff vacancies in our struggling hospitals.

“Severe staff shortages are impacting our hospitals right across the State, it’s a significant issue impacting the Department, yet there was no answer to our questions.

“The McGowan Labor Government has the rest of the week to prove it can be open and honest with the people of WA, but so far, the performance by Ministers has been mediocre.”

Ms Davies said the Minister also shirked responsibility for regional health projects that were funded by her Department and deflected to Labor Party lines when asked for more detail.

“Instead of addressing questions from Deputy Opposition Leader Shane Love about the Geraldton oncology unit, the Minister decided to go on the attack, hand-balling responsibility to the Federal Government,” Ms Davies said.

“With a change of Government, I expect the Minister to be in there fighting for the funds with her Federal Labor colleagues, it is her responsibility to bring the Geraldton unit to the new Prime Minister’s attention as soon as possible.”

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the Minister could not provide detailed information on a range of questions, including the number of staff vacancies within WA’s hospitals.

“The Minister refused to provide the figures, instead again brushing the issue off by telling the Opposition to put the question on notice,” Ms Mettam said.

“When asked exactly when construction on the Women’s and Babies Hospital was due to begin, the Minister also could not provide an exact timeframe for Labor’s key project.

“This just raises more questions about the McGowan Labor Government’s ability to provide smooth pipelines of work on infrastructure which would help ease pressure on our health system.”