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Brief Explanations before Questions to Members

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (14:35): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing.

Leave granted.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: […]Earlier this year, I asked the minister a question about the need for a much-needed renal dialysis unit at Mount Barker hospital and if the government had any plans to fund its operation. The minister’s response at the time was unfairly critical of our Centre Alliance colleague and member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, who the minister said—and I paraphrase—’in my view has a very poor record of standing up for the health services in the Adelaide Hills’.

Rebekha is a strong, passionate and vocal advocate for her community, as was highlighted by her emphatic by-election victory in Mayo recently, her securing of funding for 24-hour doctors in Mount Barker from the previous government and her ongoing fight to secure the renal dialysis unit for the local hospital. Unfortunately for the people of the Adelaide Hills, I note in this year’s budget papers that there is no funding for the renal dialysis unit at Mount Barker hospital.

That said, I have been heartened by an article in today’s Mount Barker Courier which reveals the future priorities and needs for Mount Barker hospital, including a dialysis unit to be incorporated as part of a master plan the minister has just announced. However, the article also stated that no definitive time frame had been given on when the dialysis unit would be available. My questions to the minister are:

1. Why hasn’t the government provided funding in this year’s budget for a much-needed renal dialysis unit at Mount Barker hospital?

2. What criteria was used by the government to commit $1.5 million in this year’s budget for a renal dialysis unit at Mount Gambier hospital over Mount Barker hospital?

3. How much money has been committed to funding the master plan, and has that money come from this year’s budget, noting the previous Labor government last year announced it would invest $6.7 million in Mount Barker hospital’s emergency services over four years: $859,000 in 2017-18, $1.89 million in 2018-19, $1.949 million in 2019-20 and $2.1 million in 2020-21.

4. When can the people of the Adelaide Hills expect a final decision to be made on whether a renal dialysis unit will be introduced in Mount Barker hospital?

[…]

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Pangallo, that was not a brief explanation. Can you please watch yourself going forward. You could have asked those questions of the minister without the explanation. It’s not appropriate for your political polemic ahead of your questions.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I apologise.

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