Wednesday, 13 April 2016
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (17:05): Thank you, Deputy Speaker. I am pleased to make a contribution to the Supply Bill legislation. I do not need, perhaps, to describe what the Supply Bill looks to provide the state. I think that has been adequately covered by other members who have
spoken to the bill, but it does provide an opportunity for members to really speak on a wide range of areas for which the government has responsibility.
I want really to reflect for a time on what this government has achieved over the past 14-plus years it has been in government. What have we got for 14 years-plus of a Labor government here in South Australia? Well, I will tell you what we have got. We have got the highest unemployment in the country, we have got the highest taxation in the country, we have got some of the highest electricity prices in the country and we have got some of the highest water prices in the country.
The Member for Mitchell touched on that in his contribution just previously; however, that is what we have got after 14 and a bit years of this Labor government, and that is just for a start. I will be talking about some other glaring examples of mismanagement and the like in my contribution. I
would like to try to look at some of the positives that, perhaps, the government may have achieved in its 14-plus years.
There has been a lot of positive talk and discussion in the community about the redeveloped Adelaide Oval, and I agree: it is a good place to go and view cricket matches and football games. It is a very good facility, but how has the government paid for it? Everybody talks about how great the facility is, and I agree it is good. It is spectacular as you drive along King William Road to look into the ground. It is quite a spectacular view. However, how is that paid for?
People do not focus on what the government did to cover the cost of the redevelopment of Adelaide Oval. What the government did was that it sold the South-East forests after many years of hammering away at this mantra of 'no privatisation'. How long have we listened to the mantra of the Labor Party hammering away at no privatisation.
We heard for years 'no privatisation' under a Labor government, so what do we see? We see the South-East forests sold from underneath those communities down there and, if you talk to the member for MacKillop and the member for Mount Gambier and the federal member for Barker,
they will tell you that it has been a complete disservice to those communities in the South-East to sell that state-owned asset from underneath them. That is a thing we should remind the community here in South Australia about: that that is what took place. After years of the Labor opposition saying, 'no privatisation', they privatised those forests to pay for the Adelaide Oval
So, you cannot believe what they say. The community cannot believe what the Labor Party tells them, because they tell them one thing and do exactly the opposite when it suits them. I do not want to be too negative and use other descriptive words—things like 'lying to the community'—but if I have to, I will. Really, when we look at things and critically, objectively assess
what this government has provided to the South Australian public over 14 years, the negatives far outweigh the positives.
Let's have a look at things the government has dealt with over recent months. The Gillman land project: if there was ever an example of how to mismanage something, that is certainly it. All these baseless promises and projections were put out there and spun up into something that sounds pretty good. Talking about Gillman, if there was ever a project that was spun up by
the spin masters on the government side of things, that was it. What do we see? There have been so many variations when we have asked questions here in parliament about the Gillman land deal. The Deputy Premier gets up, and we have had so many different positions, talk about jumping around like a cat on a hot tin roof! There has been a judgement brought down about the government's maladministration in relation to that Gillman land deal—and the list goes on.
However, what is really at front of mind for the South Australian community is the construction of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Transforming Health initiative. This is really quite a serious problem that the South Australian community is facing. We look at the new RAH, and again, if there was ever an example of how to mismanage a project, there it is: over budget,
over time. The minister has to come continually into the house and go out and talk to the media publicly on pushing back the completion date.
I do not want to exaggerate things, but pretty much on a fortnightly basis there has been a completion date rejigged, to the point where, I cannot remember the title of the person, but a senior person who has been overseeing the construction of the new RAH resign just recently. If there is ever an indictment of frustration, I think that is probably it by that person in their resignation. It is a continual series of problems. The last sitting a couple of weeks ago we highlighted the fact that there is a flaw (and this is a bit of a pun) in the construction of the floors of the hospital, because the engineering specifications are not sufficient to be able to handle a few filing cabinets full of patient records.
Do you know why? It is because of the failed EPAS system. Again, if there was ever an example of how to mismanage another project that the government has responsibility for, then EPAS is certainly up there. We have Gillman, we have the construction, we have EPAS, and what are they going to do? They are going to have to do construct a temporary facility to house the hard copy patient records because EPAS has failed.
You would really hope that the government could get something right sometime. You would really hope they could, but they cannot, particularly in relation to the provision of health services. It is quite frustrating. I have constituents contacting my electorate office on a daily basis, telling my staff and me how frustrated they are. Even Labor-voting constituents are saying, 'You know, Mark, we are so frustrated.' They are so frustrated with the level of ineptitude from the Labor government in really being able to roll out anything that is meaningful to the community.
We have EPAS in a shambles. We have the construction of the new RAH being pushed out all the time. We have doctors protesting en masse in relation to the transferring of the care from the existing RAH site to the new RAH site, and that takes me on to the big kahuna, being Transforming Health. What a shambles that is! Seriously, what a shambles Transforming Health is!
Talking about issues with Transforming Health, we do not make this stuff up. We are getting letters from clinical specialists, professors, AMA surveys—you name it. We and the government are getting letters from the federal president of the Labor Party highlighting his concerns. What is going on there? What is going on there amongst the ranks of the Labor Party, where we have a federal president and a federal member of parliament breaking ranks, complaining and raising concerns with the Transforming Health initiatives? That, to me, is a pretty serious breach of discipline within the Labor ranks. To my way of thinking, we know that the member for Port Adelaide is part of the hard left of the Labor Party—we know that—and my take on things is the hard left of the Labor Party is getting sick and tired of the dominant right faction ruling the roost within the Labor Party.
That is my take on things, that we are getting an uprising of the hard left against the dominant right faction within the Labor Party, and they are sick and tired of it. So he is writing a letter to the Minister for Health, who we know is part of the hard right within the Labor Party's factional system, complaining about what is going on at The QEH. This is clear evidence that Transforming Health is not working, because we are seeing senior Labor Party members breaking ranks.
We do not see that very often, but we have witnessed it. I have seen it over the years. When there is trouble and there are big concerns about what somebody might be doing, something that goes against the grain, there is a breaking of the ranks within the Labor Party. We have seen it over
the years in previous terms in relation to workers compensation, and things like that, and other issues that obviously raise enormous concerns within the ranks of the Labor Party, and obviously Transforming Health is one of those. We share those concerns and the community's concerns. We have done some surveys out in the electorates on this Transforming Health initiative. We are getting a massive response to it. Today in question time we highlighted a recent survey by the AMA. I just want to quote from it, if I may. AMA President Dr Janice Fletcher said, and I quote:
There is significant concern that the government is quite simply trying to do 'too much, too soon' in tackling this major reform with its reconfiguration of hospital services at the same time as the move to the new RAH and the introduction of the EPAS patient administration and medical record
During question time we asked the minister how he can substantiate claims that 95 per cent of the medical profession's clinicians support Transforming Health when the survey from the AMA and SASMOA clearly differs. If you are out in the community, who would you believe? Would you believe the medical professionals or would you believe the spin that is coming out from the
government? Well, I can tell you who I think the vast majority of the community believe. They believe the medical professionals, because they are the ones that people go to for their healthcare services. They are the medically trained, skilled professionals who go to university for at least eight years. Specialists sometimes study for more than 12 years, because they do their
medical degree and then there is a whole lot more specialist training, and another four, five or six years, perhaps; so they are at university for the best part of 15 years. Then they come out and become medical specialists, and they know what they are talking about in relation to Transforming Health.
It is a hell of a mess. The government has got themselves in a hell of a mess over Transforming Health. We see the cost-cutting and reduction in services at the Modbury Hospital. I have spoken about that in this place on numerous occasions. My constituents are affected by the reduction of services at the Modbury Hospital. My home district (even though it is not in my electorate any more because it was redistributed out) will be affected, because the Modbury Hospital is the biggest public hospital that is closest to my home district, so those residents will be affected by the reduction of services at Modbury and being pushed out to the Lyell McEwin Hospital.
In question time today, in answer to a question, the minister said that there have been only two transfers from Modbury to the Lyell McEwin per day. Well, I can tell you, wait until—
The Hon. A. Koutsantonis: Two more.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: Two extra, okay. Wait until the flu season hits, wait until winter starts to grab hold of us and the flu season hits. I bet there will be hell of a lot more, significantly more than two additional transfers from Modbury to the Lyell McEwin. The minister was trying to spin it today that it was just a minuscule number; when the flu season hits and the winter months come in it will be significant.