Thursday, 16 August 2007
Statements by Members
Gold Coast Hospital
I rise today to talk about the crisis that is currently engulfing the Gold Coast Hospital. It is a crisis because the simple facts are that the Beattie Labor government has underfunded, understaffed and ignored the Gold Coast Hospital for far too many years. Unfortunately for what is Australia’s sixth largest and fastest-growing city, we are now faced with the consequence where our Gold Cost Hospital, despite the best efforts of staff and the best efforts of doctors, is constantly shackled by a lacklustre state Labor government that has simply under-resourced that hospital. The consequence of that for my city is profound. What is clear is that we have front-page article after front-page article talking about the absolute shambles that is the public health system on the Gold Coast.
The question could be asked: what has the Howard government done about it and what have I done about it? I am pleased to say that I am part of a government that has provided record funding to the Beattie Labor government—some $8 billion under the Australian Health Care Agreement—to ensure that they have at their disposal the kinds of resources necessary to provide the citizens of our city, the constituents in my electorate, with the kind of first-class health care that they are they are looking for. Unfortunately, despite the $8 billion record funding that the Beattie Labor government have received, the Gold Coast is simply not getting its fair share from the state Labor government, because they would rather choose to spend that money elsewhere in the state. The consequences are front pages like this one that I have seen in my local newspaper, talking about hospital patients walking away from the hospital. We have seen a carry-on where ambulances line up outside the emergency ward at the Gold Coast Hospital with patients waiting to be treated. The Gold Coast Bulletin editorial from 26 July this year stated:
Already the Gold Coast Hospital regularly goes on by-pass, while patients being kept in ambulances in the street waiting for beds to become vacant are not unheard of.
If an epidemic were to occur, the prospect of patients lined in the street as is the case in third-world countries may be the next we see on the front page.
It simply is not good enough. I have got to say that we are growing tired of the Beattie Labor government’s false promises. I have here a photograph of a sign erected on the proposed site of the new Gold Coast Hospital. It says at the bottom: ‘Project commencing early 2007’. It is the middle of August, and the state Labor government have not even turned a sod of soil on that site. With the $8 billion investment provided by the Howard government to the Queensland Labor government, it is time Labor stopped pretending they really are concerned about health and actually started delivering for my constituents and for the residents of my city.