Wednesday, 29 September 2010 09:30

Morphett Deserves Better - State Budget 2010

           In this budget there is absolutely nothing for the electors of Morphett other than pain. The electorate of Morphett is a compact electorate. It is one of the tourist zones of South Australia. It has hotels, high-rise, investment properties and a lot of commercial properties. The government must be taking millions of dollars both in stamp duty and land tax out of my electorate every year, but what do they get back in return—very little, other than they are very sensible to keep electing a Liberal member of parliament there, and with an 11.2 per cent margin they are not getting it in the foreseeable future. I will be doing my damndest to make sure that this government is exposed for what it is doing, and that is looking after those who look after them.

            We see that this budget has put a lot of money into advertising, again, with $320,000 going into public communications for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. I did not think this government was going to advertise again.
            The bit that really hurts in the health budget and concerns my electors in Morphett is the withdrawal of the supposed subsidy to the Glenelg Community Hospital. I use the word 'community' deliberately. It may be a privately owned hospital inasmuch as it is not owned by the government, but it is not owned by the Catholic Church or Healthscope or one of those big boys. It is owned by the Glenelg community. It is a not-for-profit hospital and has been there for a long time. My son Lachlan was born there on a dark and windy night on 15 March 1975.
            The hospital was going strongly then and had lots of obstetrics. You cannot have a baby there now, unfortunately, but you can have excellent care for day surgery and overnight surgery, and also a program called Recover at the Bay. That is a program that linked Flinders Medical Centre and the Repatriation General Hospital with the Glenelg Community Hospital. Patients waiting or recovering from surgery or recuperating from some other procedures or illness can come to the Bay and Recover at the Bay.
            My understanding is this is not charged out at the acute bed rate. This was carefully negotiated. It was a good thing that the Department of Health did. It negotiated extremely good overnight prices for people who are stepping down to Recover at the Bay. This actually saves the Department of Health hundreds of dollars per night per patient. So why would you abandon it? Don't ask me. At the same time, there are other hospitals that have larger subsidies.
            The Glenelg Community Hospital board was so concerned that it issued a press release. Mr Peter Moloney, the chairperson of the Glenelg Community Hospital, put out a press release on 21 September which said:
                ...the Glenelg Community Hospital expressed surprise and disappointment at the press report which appeared in the Saturday September 18...Advertiser. He said: 'I wish to set the record straight as regards public funding and the Glenelg Community Hospital.'
                He said that there had been considerable angst unnecessarily caused by the article—
We know where that came from—it came straight out of the budget papers. Mr Moloney said:
                'GCH has been operating successfully for 60 years and has no plans to close any time soon irrespective of any funding issues arising from the recent state budget.' Mr Moloney went on to explain that, 'The core business of our hospital is the provision of overnight and day surgery and the care of medical patients, which is 100 per cent funded via private health insurance providers.'
                Mr Moloney explained that [Glenelg Community Hospital] has 'for some years now had an agreement with the Flinders Medical Centre, the Repatriation General Hospital and the Noarlunga Hospital to take patients from those facilities who are waiting for surgery, recovering from surgery or who need care prior to being transferred from hospital to home and this amounted to a very small fraction of the hospital's income. He further said that, 'It was a valuable community service which we have been pleased to be able to provide.' He went on to say that, 'It would be a great pity if this program was lost to the community because it helps these public hospitals operate more efficiently by freeing up beds for more acute patients,' and that 'GCH has been happy to assist in this process.'
                Mr Moloney went on to say that if the program is to close it 'will not affect the viability of the Glenelg Community Hospital. It will simply mean that we will continue to serve the community in other ways not involving collaboration with the public hospital system.'
It is not a subsidy. It is a service that is being provided by the hospital. So, when the minister can review that decision, I think it will be good not only for his bottom line but also, more importantly, for the patients who are benefiting from Recovering at the Bay.
            The member for Unley talked a bit about the Stormwater Management Authority. I have vivid memories of the floods in Glenelg North when millions of litres of stormwater came running down Brownhill Creek, Sturt Creek and the Patawalonga Creek to the Barcoo Outlet. The gate system was not working properly and the whole area flooded. That may not have happened had there been better retention and detention upstream, and it pains me to hear that the Stormwater Management Authority is not doing a whole lot to move things forward with stormwater management in South Australia, particularly retention and detention.
            This week I was delighted to receive a letter from the Adelaide Airport outlining their new aquifer storage and recovery project that is going to be put next to the airport. This will save millions of litres of stormwater from rushing out to sea through the Barcoo Outlet. It will be detained; it will be retained. It will be cleaned up in the wetlands and a lot of it will be stored in the aquifers underneath, and as has been demonstrated so well by Mr Pitman and Salisbury council, it will be reused for on-site non-potable use. Volumes of stormwater rush out to sea all along the coast. I live on the coast at Somerton Park, and even when it has not been raining at Somerton Park but in hills, massive volumes of water rush out to sea. The sooner we do something about stormwater recovery, detention, retention and treatment, the better. I know the Liberal plan was an excellent plan.
            The 22 kilometres of sand pipeline that was going to be put along the coast is now back to nine kilometres. However, the price has not gone down, it has gone up. I do confess that I live at Somerton Park, so I am rather pleased that it is not my end that has been cut; that is, the pipeline will go from West Beach to Kingston Park. However, the poor beggars at Henley, Grange and Semaphore, the people living in those presently safely Labor seats, will be suffering the inconvenience of large trucks trucking sand along their streets each time there is a need to move sand up and down the coast. The sand pipeline should have gone ahead. It should not be short changed and it should not be shortened in length.
            The other big issue I have in my electorate is the state of the roads. Anzac Highway between Brighton Road and Marion Road—it is not in my electorate—is an absolute disgrace. Bitumen has failed, bitumen has lifted off and bitumen has peeled off. There are corrugations and ruts. It is almost like a four-wheel drive track coming up to Adelaide now, along with the thousands of cars. I know the Minister for Transport does not live down there anymore, but he needs to drive along Anzac Highway and to look at the state of Anzac Highway. I am getting continual complaints from constituents. I have written to the minister about it, but so far nothing.
            The state of Morphett Road is atrocious. One thing I have asked about in estimates before is the tram crossing at Morphett Road. The congestion goes back to Bray Street, and now, because they put these extra sets of traffic lights at the tram crossing, you have congestion at Anzac Highway, Morphett Road and also going north through to Immanuel College. The traffic lights do not add to the safety of the road. In fact, you can still get caught on the tram crossing, with a green light there and a red light at Anzac Highway. They spent $400,000 on that crossing. The then CE of transport described it to me—and I will not use the exact expletive—as a complete 'f'er'. That is what he said. That was a few years ago. Nothing has happened. It has got worse, in fact.
            Oaklands crossing, at the other end of my electorate, is another area of complete congestion. We have seen patch-ups and the station moved. At last the State Aquatic Centre is being constructed at Marion, but considering the volumes of traffic going through that area now, that is another area this government needs to pay attention to. It is going to take millions of dollars to fix it, but you cannot keep postponing, because the moment you postpone it, up goes the price. The danger to people, the cost in time, the cost in delays; it is just getting worse and worse. Those two particular traffic areas are something that the Minister for Transport really needs to pay a lot of attention to.
            The good people of Morphett deserve more than this. They are putting a lot of money back into this state through their businesses and their endeavours, the taxes they are paying and in supporting the economy. Let us not forget, three million visitors per year visit the Bay and spend money, and that money is going back into state coffers. Morphett deserves better from this government.
Read 14700 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 September 2010 12:27

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.