McGowan Government must reverse unnecessary cut to Balga child health services

The McGowan Labor Government must reverse the decision to end a long-term contract with The Salvation Army to deliver child health services to families living in Balga and surrounding communities.

Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Donna Faragher said the service agreement between the Department of Health and The Salvation Army had been in place for many years and cutting the service would have a significant impact on the community.

“This is a critical service set up many years ago to support the diverse needs of young children and their families in the area,” Mrs Faragher said.

“The range of services and continuity of care delivered through this valued child health centre support many families with young children in Balga, Girrawheen, Koondoola and Nollamara.

“With two full time child health nurses, this ‘boutique’ service provides not only child health appointments but many additional programs including first aid classes, antenatal education sessions, Sing & Grow and sensory playgroups along with ‘Mum and Bub’ fitness classes.

“The decision not to renew the service agreement means the partnership will finish at the end of the financial year with many families losing a valued local community health service.”

Mrs Faragher said the McGowan Government had not given an adequate explanation for the cessation of the service agreement.

“Given we have significant child health nurse shortages across the State in both the metropolitan (15 FTE) and country (20 FTE) areas, it makes no sense to cease this partnership,” Mrs Faragher said.

“Cutting this service is also disappointing given the importance of these types of partnerships to achieve better health outcomes for children as outlined in the government’s Child and Adolescent Health Service: Strategic Plan 2023–2025.

“I call on the McGowan Labor Government to listen to the local families who utilise this valued community health service and reverse this unnecessary decision before it is too late.”

Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam said the decision to end the agreement, particularly when the service operates in line with relevant governance policies and reporting requirements, was extremely concerning.

“Yet again the McGowan Government is trying to cut corners on critical health services with little reason or regard for those most impacted, Western Australian families and their children,” Ms Mettam said.

“With more than $11bn in surpluses, it is a heartless cut to a valuable community service from a government that is completely out of touch with the needs and concerns of everyday Western Australians.”