Shorten reveals Labor's cash promise to 'tackle ice scourge' in Mandurah

Peel Health Campus has been earmarked for a $6 million 10-bed withdrawal unit, as part of the potential federal Labor government's $20 million commitment for dedicated mental health facilities at four West Australian hospitals.

Touching down in his "Bill bus" on Tuesday, opposition leader Bill Shorten joined Labor's federal candidate for Canning Mellisa Teede and shadow health minister Catherine King to announce the potential cash injection.

The funding pledge forms part of the opposition's plan to tackle the ice scourge it has flagged in regional Australia, which will be implemented if Labor wins the upcoming election.

"It's a fact that ice breaks families. It ruins lives. It's a cancer eating away at our society but under a future Labor federal government help is on the way," Mr Shorten said.

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"I'm really pleased to be announced today Labor's $20 million action plan to tackle ice in Australia."

Alongside the money for Mandurah, an alcohol and drugs urgent care clinic and 10-bed withdrawal unit have been tipped for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and mental health emergency centres for Midland Hospital and Rockingham Hospital.

"The down-payment on our plan is going to be two emergency clinics that provide assistance, an alcohol and drug urgent care clinic and, of course, two 10-bed withdrawal units," Mr Shorten said.

"One of those two 10-bed withdrawal units will be here at the Peel Health Campus.

"These are sensible proposals.

"The reality is police cannot arrest their way out of the ice epidemic, which is afflicting us.

"We can't expect our emergency departments to become ice treatment clinics.

"We've got to do more to help our first responders. We've got to do more to help the people in our emergency departments.

"This is really sensible work, which will compliment nicely, I think, the West Australian Methamphetamine Action Plan." 

Peel Health Campus plays a vital role in this community. It not only services the people of Mandurah but it also spans right across the community as far as Preston Beach, Waroona, Dwellingup and Pinjarra.

Labor's federal candidate for Canning Mellisa Teede

Also fronting media on Tuesday, Ms Teede said the funding would be crucial for both Mandurah's ageing population and the region's rapidly growing, young community.

"I'm really pleased to have Bill Shorten here today at the Peel Health Campus. It's actually not the first time Bill's been here. He's been, I think, at least three times over the past 12 months," Ms Teede said. 

"The Peel Health Campus plays a vital role in this community. It not only services the people of Mandurah but it also spans right across the community as far as Preston Beach, Waroona, Dwellingup and Pinjarra.

"We've been here today and seen the amazing work that the staff do in this hospital but with a rapidly growing population there's no doubt that we need ongoing investment in this hospital and our health services.

"[Annually] 1100 babies are born in this hospital, including my four grandchildren. So I have a vested interest in making sure we have the best of care for our community."

Having helped develop her party's announced policy, shadow federal health minister Catherine King was also on hand to talk about the plans.

"Ice is an absolute scourge. We really need to do something about providing better services," she said.

"When I talk to emergency physicians across every community they tell me that they often get people who are suffering from mental health issues and suffering from substantial drug and alcohol issues.

"Emergency departments are not the place for these patients. We need to provide better care.

"We know that we need to provide the best possible care opportunities for people who are suffering addiction and their families who are in desperate need - and this $20 million package will deliver that."

This is just an election pledge. This isn't actually going to materialise.

Incumbent Canning MP Andrew Hastie

While incumbent Canning MP Andrew Hastie welcomed Tuesday's announcement, he was quick to criticise the state government, stating they had been "absent on the issue for too long". 

"We obviously welcome any investment, that's what I've been campaigning for across the past year and will continue to campaign for," he said. 

"Sure, 10 new withdrawal beds is a good thing but it's not enough.

"I think the main focus has to be on the emergency department and that's one of the things the $25 million I've secured will help address."

Mr Hastie also warned his constituents that Labor's announcement was pork-barrelling.

"Again, this is just an election pledge," he said.

"You only have to follow the money to see who see who's committed to health in our community. Labor is not serious about Mandurah."

Labor's $20 million investment will fund:

  • A 10-bed withdrawal unit and a mental health emergency centre at Midland Hospital in Perth ($4.6 million)
  • A 10-bed withdrawal unit at the Peel Health Campus in Mandurah ($6 million)
  • A mental health emergency centre in Rockingham ($5 million)
  • An alcohol and drugs urgent care clinic at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital ($4.15 million)

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Follow Caitlyn Rintoul on Twitter via @caitlynrintoul.