House debates

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Constituency Statements

Mayo Electorate: Health Care

10:12 am

Photo of Rebekha SharkieRebekha Sharkie (Mayo, Centre Alliance) Share this | | Hansard source

Health is the issue in my electorate that my community want me to fight for the most. I know this because when I was first elected I sent a survey to every household and, every time a new family or a new couple or a new individual move into the electorate, they receive the same survey. They have all said health is the most important issue. I also represent an electorate with the oldest population by median age, and this can bring challenges with respect to infrastructure as well. We desperately need more healthcare and more aged-care infrastructure in my electorate.

For instance, the Mount Barker District Soldiers' Memorial Hospital is over 100 years old. The hospital serves the population in the Adelaide Hills, which by 2036 will be 100,000 people. Presentations to the hospital's emergency department have increased from over 12,000 in 2017-18 to more than 19,000 by 2021, and more than 50 per cent of patients unfortunately have needed to be transferred to city hospitals. We don't have the acuity right, and the hospital requires new services. We've been able to get some much needed funds from the federal government, and I welcome that. However, what we really need is an investment of over $200 million to create a proper standalone hospital that would suit and meet the needs of the community. I also want to mention that more pressure is being placed on Mount Barker hospital because the Gumeracha hospital emergency department has been closed. That was a state government decision, but I'm going to do all I can to make sure that we keep it open.

There's another issue in my electorate that desperately needs addressing, and that is palliative care. In my electorate on the South Coast we desperately need at least a four-bed palliative-care facility because people in communities on the South Coast have to travel 70 kilometres to the nearest palliative-care facility. We need to make sure health is front and centre. It always beggars belief that we always manage to find money for defence, submarines or whatever else you need to build, and yet health takes a second seat. We need to do this. Health is the most important issue in my electorate. I will continue to do all I can to fight for our health needs.