Parliamentary Committees: Public Works Committee: Modbury Hospital Transforming Health Project


Adjourned debate on motion of Ms Digance: 

That the 530th report of the committee, entitled Modbury Hospital Transforming Health Project, be noted. 

(Continued from 10 May 2017.) 

Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 11:44 ): It is with some interest that I rise to speak about the Public Works Committee's 530th report on the Modbury Hospital Transforming Health Project because just this week we discovered that some of the money that the government is spending on its Transforming Health plan has been spent on plastic wraps around TheLeader Messenger newspapers going to households in north-eastern suburbs identifying that money is being invested in Modbury Hospital and presumably paid for out of taxpayer funds as part of the Transforming Health proposal. 

This is wrap that covers the whole newspaper, with a purple background and white writing in big, 50-point font, saying that money has been invested in Modbury Hospital to provide care close to home. It goes on, on the other side, with white background and big purple writing, to say that there will be a new rehabilitation centre and more rehabilitation beds, and to find out more people are directed to the Transforming Health website. 

I know that the State Theatre Company currently has 1984 playing, but the doublespeak in the state government's Transforming Health plan would put George Orwell to shame. It is an extraordinary example of spin. As services, particularly to emergency care and emergency surgery at Modbury Hospital, are being emaciated by this government, they are trying to spend taxpayers' money in the north-eastern suburbs, telling the same taxpayers that this is all being done in their best interests, all being done to help them, that it is not an example of this Labor government fundamentally betraying the people who have supported their local members and candidates, often on promises of protecting Modbury Hospital. 

Of course the architect of all this is none other than the health minister himself, one of those same candidates who has been the beneficiary of Labor Party campaigns to save Modbury Hospital in the past. He is now the one ripping its heart out. It is extraordinary. Not only that, they take the member for Florey—who has, from time to time, demonstrated a little bit of credibility in this area—and they give her preselection to that very same health minister who is ripping the heart out of Modbury Hospital. The Labor Party now wants us to believe that the people of Florey are going to accept him as their champion. It is nothing less than extraordinary. 

There is even more, Deputy Speaker. I am sure you will be shocked to hear that one of the groups that expresses interest in these matters from time to time is involved in local government. I know there are champions for Modbury Hospital who have been involved in local government before, and we will be very interested to see what happens in the near future. There is a new member in the other place—some people may have met Mr Justin Hanson, who has recently been elevated to the Legislative Council—and his departure from the Tea Tree Gully council has caused a by-election. 

I note that in the last week there have been a number of nominations: Dylan Brown, Jody Mayfield, Wayne Smith, Sonia Blackwell, Kathryn Nicholls, Robyn Dowley, Mary Kasperski, Peter Panagaris and James Ellery. These are candidates for Balmoral Ward in the Tea Tree Gully council, and they are going to have a very critical role in expressing community sentiment regarding the Tea Tree Gully council's position on Modbury Hospital and the state government's emaciation of Modbury Hospital. 

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Morialta, we do need to get back to the actual hospital. 

Mr GARDNER: I will get back to that right now. What the Public Works Committee report shows, if one reads it in detail, is the services that will be lost at the same time as the government is putting elements into rehabilitation, which the Public Works Committee particularly identifies. However, you cannot understand the impact of the things identified by the Public Works Committee unless you also identify what is being lost. You are replacing one thing with another, and what the community has come to expect, and of course what Tea Tree Gully council has come to expect, is that there is going to be emergency surgery available at Modbury Hospital as well as the range of services that that community has come to expect. 

One of the candidates at this by-election has a particular insight into what has been happening, because she works for Jack Snelling, the Minister for Health. Mary Kasperski, as identified by the health minister when he stepped down as Speaker, has been an invaluable member of his office— 

Ms DIGANCE: Point of order, relevance. We need relevance. 

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: We do need to go back to the actual Transforming Health project. 

Mr GARDNER: Thank you for your wise guidance, Deputy Speaker, and, of course, your benevolence to the government side despite what they have done to you. I think it is very generous‑spirited of you. When considering the Public Work Committee's consideration of the Transforming Health proposals for Modbury Hospital—transforming from health to a lack of emergency surgery, as I personally think of it—the point I make is that we need to have community advocates who are also going to be reading this Public Works Committee response. 

We want everybody to read the Public Works Committee's consideration of this matter so that they too can understand that the government's proposals for Transforming Health are going to have an extraordinarily poor impact—and already have been having an extraordinarily poor impact—on the health of people in the north-eastern suburbs as a result of what this government is doing to Modbury Hospital. Those same residents have an opportunity in the coming month to have their say on who is going to represent them on the Tea Tree Gully council, and they have the opportunity to support someone who is working for the health minister who is emaciating their hospital, or someone who stands for others. I hope that they will take this opportunity and vote accordingly.