Healthcare projects get axe in Budget

Tom Zaunmayr and Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Healthcare in the Pilbara received mixed news in last week’s State Budget, with several funding shortfalls revealed among commitments to improve health services in the region.

While it was good news for the Karratha and Onslow health campuses, among other projects, Tom Price Hospital plans received less funding than had been hoped for and there was no money for a promised renal dialysis facility in Newman.

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said while residents should be happy with the budget, it was not without its disappointments.

“I think we’ll see some great steps forward in health too, with $144 million to complete our new health campus in Karratha — we’re expecting it to be ready by the end of next year, on time and on budget,” he said.

“At the moment (Newman’s renal dialysis unit has) been taken off and I’m very disappointed about it.

“Hopefully we are able to get some funding for that and I’m an advocate for all the communities and all the people of the Pilbara region and I will definitely, rain, hail or shine, make sure I’ll get something for them.”

North West Central MLA Vince Catania said the State Government had disregarded projects which had taken years to plan.

“Projects like the $45 million Tom Price Hospital and the $5 million Paraburdoo nursing post have been thrown on the scrap heap just so Mark McGowan can pander to his voter base in Perth,” he said.

“The cutting of both of these projects from the Budget will have a detrimental outcome on the deliveries of health services in these communities.

“This is a kick in the guts for these communities who have already waited years for these projects to be developed and finally getting funding approval, only to have it ripped away from them at the last moment by this cruel, anti-regional WA Government.”

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the volume of commitments by the previous government meant there would be disappointment.

“We won’t be able to chuck a huge amount of money at stuff, but we can respond intelligently and strategically to make it happen,” she said.

Ms MacTiernan said there had to be some realism about what could be funded.

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