State budget: Peel Health Campus misses out on fresh funding due to significant federal commitments

Photos: Mandurah Mail File Images.
Photos: Mandurah Mail File Images.

No new funding for the Peel Health Campus in the recently-announced state budget has been labelled as a "kick in the guts" by Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup, but Mandurah MP David Templeman has explained it was not included due to significant federal funding commitments.

The state government handed down the budget on May 9 and while West Australian treasurer Ben Wyatt revealed it brought the state's finances into surplus, direct funding towards the Peel region was scarce.

The budget does include funding already announced in 2018, including $4.4 million earmarked for parking and CCTV from May and $5 million for emergency department upgrades, reported in September.

For the 2019/20 financial year, $1.6 million is budgeted for "Development Stage 1" dedicated to upgrades, parking and security, while another $2.807 million is projected to be spent between 2020 and 2022.

While $1 million has already been spent towards the "Emergency Department Reconfiguration", a further $3.9 million is budgeted in 2019/20 for the upgrades, set to be complete in early 2020.

The budget did not allocate any fresh funding to the Mandurah hospital.

Mandurah MP David Templeman said this was because, regardless of who comes out on top after the May 18 federal election, the Peel Health Campus (PHC) will receive significant funding from federal government.

"We're in a great position now, I'll acknowledge the efforts of federal major parties, in relation to the Peel Health Campus," he said.

"The $25 million commitment from the current federal government has been matched by the federal Labor party.

"The federal Labor party has also promised an extra $6 million for meth beds at the Peel Health Campus.

"In this budget [there's] just under $10 million from the McGowan government with upgrades to the Peel Health Campus.

"Totalling that up, depending on who wins next Saturday, we will still come out a winner.

"$35 million if one party wins, $41 million if another party wins. I'll let you decide."

WA health minister Roger Cook said the state government had already invested more into the local hospital than their predecessors.

"The redevelopment of Peel Health Campus is a priority for the McGowan government, which is why we have invested $10 million to put patients first and deliver healthcare where and when it's needed," he told the Mandurah Mail.

"During eight years in office, the Liberal National government neglected the health needs of the growing Peel region and made no major investments in the hospital.

"The $5 million expansion and reconfiguration of the PHC emergency department is due to be complete in just over 12 months."

However, Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup said the budget was a missed opportunity for the state government to show commitment to "the health needs of [the Mandurah] community".

"Pretty gutted is how I feel at the moment and I think everyone in Mandurah would feel gutted to realise the government hasn't put any new money into expanding Peel Health Campus or planning for upgrades," he told the Mandurah Mail.

"Everything that is in there has actually already been announced some months ago.

"To me, the government has really missed an opportunity here to show its support for the people of Mandurah and the Peel region and demonstrate that they are similarly concerned about the health needs of our community.

"It's a real kick in the guts. I really can't believe just how much they've decided to turn their backs on us."

Mr Kirkup said it was disappointing as increased infrastructure expenditure and additional resources has been a hot topic of local conversation for more than 12 months.

"We've never had so much community support behind a single issue in Mandurah than the issue of expanding Peel Health Campus and this government has just decided to ignore us - I find that really disappointing," he said.

"Everyone has been rock steady that they want to see our hospital funded and invested in... we've put real pressure on them as a united community."

Australian Medical Association WA (AMA WA) president Dr Omar Khorshid echoed Mr Kirkup's sentiments, expressing his disappointment the budget failed to earmark any additional funding for the local hospital.

"The McGowan government's decision to completely ignore the needs of the hospital and the growing community it serves in the 2019 state budget is a disappointment," Dr Khorshid said.

"This is a hospital dealing with a more than 300 per cent increase in ambulance ramping for the first quarter of this year - the highest percentage increase across all WA hospitals for the same period.

"This is also a hospital dealing with increasing pressures on its emergency department and blow-outs in its elective surgery waiting lists."

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Dr Khorshid added that even the funding that has already been outlined is not enough for PHC to service a booming city like Mandurah.

"The state government's funding announcements last year of $4.6 million for upgrades at the hospital and $4.9 million for reconfiguration of the ED are piecemeal and a long way from what is really needed," he said.

"When the federal government announced $25 million for the hospital in February, we were quick to point out how the amount was also a drop in the ocean.

"The Peel region, one of the fastest-growing regions in the state, needs and deserves a new hospital. Planning must start now."