Rockingham: residents circulating petition for ‘adequate funding’ for Rockingham General Hospital during Federal election campaign

Rockingham General Hospital. Picture: Elle Borgward
Rockingham General Hospital. Picture: Elle Borgward

CONCERNED Rockingham residents are circulating a petition calling on the Federalcandidates for Brand to commit to ‘adequately funding’ Rockingham General Hospital.

The petition, based on figures from GetUp, estimates the hospital will endure a funding cut of $211.4 million over the next ten years, an amount equal to 88 doctors, 214 nurses or 127 beds.

Heather Barrett agreed to manage the petition, saying she felt more people needed to be aware of the cuts.

“GetUp reached out for a community leader to manage the petition, and I volunteered as I believe healthcare is absolutely necessary to development of the Rockingham-Kwinana area,” she said.

“I don’t believe that many people are aware of the size of the cuts, so it’s absolutely crucial to raise awareness in any way we can.”

The 17-year-old student hoped the petition sent a message to candidates at a Federal and State level.

“By signing the petition, people show the candidates for Brand that healthcare is a strong priority for our community.

“With the upcoming Federal and State elections, it is important to send a strong message to our representatives that we oppose the harmful cuts to healthcare.”

Greens candidate for Brand Dawn Jecks got on the front foot, saying the current government would “decimate” the health system.

“The Greens see health as an investment, not a cost,” she said.

“Ensuring that our health system will always be accessible, affordable and universal is our priority.

“Instead the Abbott/Turnbull Government has taken Australia’s hospitals to the edge of a funding cliff that will decimate the health system and leave patients out in the cold.”

However, Federal Health minister Sussan Ley hit back at GetUp, accusing them of running a scare campaign and “outing themselves as a branch of the Labor Party”.

“The Coalition has publicly committed to investing over $10 billion to West Australian hospitals over five years, yet GetUp has deliberately kept this fact from residents across the Rockingham area,” she said

“We will increase hospital funding in WA by over 35 per cent by 2020, while Labor has been silent, yet not a word from GetUp criticising the (Labor) for having no plan at all.

“Bill Shorten is planning to break Labor’s unfunded $57 billion hospitals promise from the Rudd-Gillard era and GetUp have clearly been instructed to create a distraction.

“If anyone has donated to GetUp’s campaign I suggest you demand your money back, from Labor.”

Rockingham General Hospital said it was not able to comment.

View the petition here.

Liberal candidate for Brand Craig Buchanan and Labor Candidate Madeleine King have been contacted for comment.