“It’s time to give WA a fair go.”
That was Bill Shorten’s rally cry while in Mandurah on Wednesday afternoon.
The opposition leader was in the region as part of a six-day visit to WA, saying that when it came to local issues – such as funding for Peel Health Campus and parking at the Mandurah train station – it was all a “matter of priorities” which were currently not being met.
“We took a policy to the last election to help build a park-and-ride carpark in Mandurah,” Mr Shorten said.
“We're currently reviewing our policies but I'm very conscious that with the massive population expansion and the need for accessible public transport carparking is fundamental.”
When asked about the possibility of funding for the proposed Lakelands train station, Mr Shorten said it was a discussion he would be having with the McGowan Government, as well as Canning Labor candidate Mellisa Teede.
As for funding for the Peel Health Campus, which Dawesville state MP Zak Kirkup has said is in a state of funding crisis, Mr Shorten said he was conscious of restoring the cuts which had been made by the Turnbull Government.
“Under the current government, unfortunately $715 million has been cut from hospitals over the next three years; $77 million from Western Australia alone,” he said.
“I made a decision that we will find money in the budget to improve the funding offered at hospitals.
“Currently, the federal government is offering to pay 45 percent; I think we need to have a discussion about paying 50 percent.
“So for the Peel hospital we're conscious of restoring some of the cuts, we're conscious of unfreezing medicare.
“We're open to a discussion with the West Australian government about cooperatively funding hospital infrastructure.”
Mandurah state MP David Templeman said he welcomed Mr Shorten’s willingness to working closely with the McGowan Government, particularly on something as important as health.
“I think there is a lot of opportunity to really streamline a lot of our health delivery in this region, so that includes looking at the hospital, but also how we address issues – particularly of concern for this community – like aged care, which is very much a federal responsibility,” he said.
“I think we need a very streamlined and collaborative plan for health, and I will be quite frank, it is a little bit hypocritical for the current liberal members here, who have suddenly been claiming there is a crisis in health when they did nothing in eight and half years and had no plan.”