Investing in Country Health

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will help to fix the backlog in country capital works.

The Problem

Country South Australians are just as entitled to taxpayer-funded investment in their hospitals and health services as their metropolitan counterparts.

But for too long, the Weatherill Government’s ‘metrocentric’ mindset has undermined patient care as it has run many country hospitals into the ground.

Over the past 10 years, Labor has neglected country hospitals, creating a maintenance backlog of reported to be in the order of $150 million.

In the 2017-18 State budget, the $1.1 billion health spend did not allocate a single dollar for capital investment in country hospitals and health services.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will fix the backlog in country capital works by:

  • ensuring that all money raised in local communities is spent in those communities
  • acting with urgency to address high risk repairs and maintenance at country hospitals
  • implementing a country capital works renewal strategy to address the maintenance backlog and plan positively for future development
  • developing arrangements to retain part of the private patient income in local hospitals for the benefit of local services.

These commitments will return millions of dollars to country communities to fix Labor’s mess.

Health Advisory Councils will be empowered to control their trust funds.

This will ensure locally generated funds meet local needs, protecting private donations and enabling local management of bequests.

A Liberal Government will respect the valuable role of community raised and generated funds and allow them to resource buildings, equipment and research in regional areas.

We understand that such philanthropic support only happens when individuals and communities are confident the use of funds reflects local priorities.

We will undertake a review to identify how Labor has used these funds to evade providing government funding.

A robust management framework will ensure that, in the future, the funds are used only for agreed strategic priorities, risk assessed capital priorities and ethically approved research which comply with government policies and procedures.

In cases where capital spending from non-Government funds requires approval (such as when it draws in recurrent government funding) regional health boards will be responsible for granting approval, not the Minister or central office.

Health Advisory Councils will be required to report fully on their activities, so local communities can see their funds at work.

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