12 October 2011 Joint Media Release Peter Dutton MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing; Andrew Southcott MP, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Healthcare and Natasha Griggs MP Federal Member for Solomon.
Today’s hidden announcement by the Minister for Health & Ageing that the Darwin GP Super Clinic will no longer go ahead is another blow to the credibility of the program, and to the Minister’s competence in managing the rollout, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Healthcare Andrew Southcott said today.
“The GP Super Clinics program has been a shambles from the beginning, and this new discovery just adds fuel to that fire” Andrew Southcott said today.
“It’s clearly been a busy week for the Minister with her red pen. It was only last Friday that we discovered she’d put a line through the Sorell clinic in Tasmania, and now we find out she’s scrapped Darwin as well”
The Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton said Labor’s failing GP Super Clinic program was yet more proof of the Gillard Government’s inability to deliver on key promises and programs..
“Remember this was a big-ticket, marquee promise from Labor – yet all we have witnessed is a program that has lurched from one embarrassment to the next for Nicola Roxon.”
“For a program that is a ‘key element of the Australian Government’s strategy to build a stronger primary health care system’, the Minister seems quite willing to scrap them left, right and centre” Mr Dutton said.
The Minister’s admission that the Darwin GP Super Clinic will no longer go ahead was contained in the last paragraph of a 5 page Media Release distributed on the same day as the passing of the carbon tax legislation.
“Clearly the Minister is embarrassed about the second GP Super Clinic to go ‘belly up’. This information has been strategically released on a big news day in the hope that it will quietly fly under the radar”
According to the Department’s own website, applications for the Darwin GP Super Clinic closed on 20 July 2011 almost 3 months ago.
“The Minister has known for almost 3 months that they had received no applications for the Darwin GP Super Clinic, but has only decided to release this information today. Why the holdup?” Andrew Southcott asked.
“Politics aside this is about providing healthcare for Territorians.” Natasha Griggs the Federal Member for Solomon said today.
“This is just another example on the Territory missing out, and the Minister for Health & Ageing, Nicola Roxon should come to Darwin and apologise to the people for breaking her election promise.”
“The Minister needs to come out and explain to the people of Darwin exactly what is going to happen to the $5 million originally allocated for Primary Healthcare services in Darwin” Natasha Griggs said.
“I look forward to working with the Minister to ensure that the money originally allocated to the GP Super Clinic continues to be spent on the healthcare needs of Darwin & Palmerston residents” Natasha Griggs said.
The Coalition have consistently maintained that GP Super Clinics were a waste of money, and would have been better spent encouraging existing practices to expand.
Taxpayers would have received much better bang for their buck, had the $650 million been spent on providing infrastructure grants to already existing practices around the country.
The $650 million, divided evenly could have provided over $90,000 to each and every GP clinic in the country.