The reaction was instant and has remained strong in response to my scheduling a public meeting at Yorketown Town Hall for 20th April (7.30pm) to discuss the issue of the loss of surgical services at Yorketown Hospital.
With disappointment I advise at the time of writing this column I still await responses from Minister Snelling to correspondence requesting a briefing (24th February, 16th March, 21st March and 3rd April) and nor have responses to lodged Freedom of Information requests been received.
I raised the issue in Parliament on 29th March during Question Time and again on 30th March in a Grieves speech (for Hansard scripts visit www.stevengriffiths.com.au) and can also report that reach/reaction to our Save Yorketown Surgical Services page on Facebook has surpassed 3,100 views.
Widespread media at least has resulted in Country Health SA not removing the general surgery, gynaecology and urology services at Yorketown Hospital on 1st April as per originally announced, without public consultation.
I can advise that confirmed speakers for the 20th April public meeting are Dr George Kokar; Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade; Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey; YP Council Mayor Ray Agnew; and Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire. I was pleased to read in last week’s YPCT that Minister Snelling intends to have a Country Health SA rep attend.
I vividly remember the Yorketown Town Hall filled with 700 people back in 2008 in response to the government’s “Country Health Plan”. It would not surprise me to see a similar number attend geared again to fight for health services for regional communities.
On the topic of power, the community was stunned to hear the recent revelations the Weatherill Government had knocked back an offer from Alinta to keep the Northern Power Station open for a further three years for a cost of just $25 million. A different decision would have avoided grid chaos, saved 440 regional jobs, and not see Premier Weatherill now planning to spend $550 million on alternative action.
On 3rd April, I attended the Ice Taskforce forum at Port Pirie where local stakeholders from government and non-government agencies discussed issues being faced in communities across SA in the fight against the alarming--and rising--methamphetamine “Ice” epidemic. The current Ministerial taskforce has a 60-day deadline and thus a policy response is due in May, which I await with great interest.
Many community groups have been busy applying for grants across the various programs currently open, for which I have been pleased to supply letters of support. For guidelines and forms (including for the recently extended Regional Capability Fund to 13th April) visit www.stevengriffiths.com.au or phone the Goyder electorate office for assistance.
I also encourage nominations for the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards (visit www.telstrabusinesswomensawards.com or call 1800 817 536), and participation in a current inquiry relating to the provisions of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (visit https://yoursay.sa.gov.au/decisions/looking-after-one-another/about for more information; submissions due 30th April).