Cook Government Budget cuts regional health spending to keep Metronet on track

May 10, 2024 | Merome Beard MLA, State News

Ageing and inadequate health infrastructure and reduced medical services will remain a fact of life for Western Australians living in the regions after funding promises from the Cook Labor Government failed to materialise in the State Budget.

North West Central MLA Merome Beard slammed the Government for its total disregard for the health of Western Australians living in the regions.

“Despite a $2.6 billion surplus built on royalties from iron ore mined in the North West this Labor Government even couldn’t bring itself to properly fund health services for families living in the regions,” she said.

“The Shire of Ashburton went to the extent of funding an extensive media campaign to remind the Labor Government of its 2021 election promise to build a new hospital in Tom Price but what they got in the Budget was little more than a sick joke.

“Only $77,000 of an estimated total cost of $32.8 million has been allocated to the project in the coming year, with the bulk of the funding pushed out until 2027-28.

“Similarly, Meekatharra Hospital got only $1.5 million, a tiny fraction of the funding for the upgrades it desperately needs.

“Carnarvon will have to continue to get by without any maternity services and Paraburdoo Hospital will get none of its much-needed upgrades after both received exactly zero funding in the budget.”

Ms Beard said people in the regions get rightly angry when they see funding allocated for a $2 billion blowout in the cost of Metronet while they are forced to drive for days to get medical care for their families and calls for funding to address the lack of staff at nursing posts in the Murchison and Mid-West regions are ignored.

“Modern health care services are vital to regional communities and are often a key consideration for people deciding to come to work and live in our towns,” she said.

“Imagine if just this latest Metronet budget blow out of $2 billion was spent on regional health upgrades – we’d be the envy of the country.”