The provision of health services continues to be the topic causing greatest concern across the electorate.
Many were appalled and rocked by the decision from Country Health SA to shift surgical services from Yorketown Hospital to Wallaroo Hospital, ignoring all efforts made to reverse the action. Whilst the cause may appear lost for now, I await the response of my request to the Ombudsman for an external review of all ignored Freedom of Information documents lodged on the topic (which also included an internal review application).
Of great concern to me is the feeling of defeat which appears to be emanating across the electorate. People are giving up trying to have problems addressed. A Liberal Government, if elected next March, has pledged to:
- act with urgency to address high risk repairs and maintenance at country hospitals;
- ensure that all money raised in local communities is spent in local communities;
- implement a country capital works renewal strategy to address the backlog in country capital works; and
- develop a policy to retain part of private patient income in local hospitals for the benefit of local services.
Importantly, the State Liberals will empower Health Advisory Councils to control their trust funds, ensuring local funds meet local needs – protecting private donations and enabling local management of bequests.
Increasing numbers of constituents are relaying frustrations they are experiencing with processing claims under the State Government’s Patient Assistance Transport Scheme, be it for delays in payment or application refusals for a variety of reasons.
I encourage constituents to contact the Goyder electorate office with your concerns so your experiences can be added to the growing file that I intend to provide to Minister Snelling for review.
Power generation and pricing also continue to be areas of concern for constituents, with some in the community reporting 30% increases in bills.
The $100 million Snowtown North Solar Farm featured in media this week, and I was sorry not to have been able to attend the information session held at Mallala on 27 July re Alinta Energy’s $450 million gas power station proposed for Reeves Plains.
Constituents are encouraged to contact me with feedback on either proposal, or to request assistance to have questions answered or concerns addressed.
I have also requested an update from Minister for Transport Stephen Mullighan on the $150,000 Port Wakefield traffic study announced in April. I was surprised by the news in July that queue-detection traffic lights are planned at Federation Corner along with the single lane roundabout. A dual-lane roundabout is still the preferred option but the government has refused to do this.
In Parliamentary activity, the last two previous weeks featured the 2017 Estimates Committee Schedule which provides a very valuable opportunity for detailed examination and direct questioning of responsible Ministers on proposed budgets/expenditures for the coming financial year.
I was involved with four Estimates sessions, involving portfolio areas of Justice Reform, Planning, Public Sector, Transport and Infrastructure, Multicultural Affairs, Volunteers, Regional Development and Local Government.
I was pleased to be guest speaker at the 24 July meeting of the Adelaide Plains Ratepayers & Residents Association Inc., speaking on “What is Good Local Government?” It was a valuable opportunity to highlight the need for elected members to be representative of community.
There are several grant programs currently open, with August or September deadlines, including the Stronger Communities Programme, Road Safety Grants, and Small Grants for Rural Communities (www.stevengriffiths.com.au for details).