Health wait questioned

Health wait questioned

Concerns have been raised by Liberal MPs that construction has not yet started on upgrading the Mount Gambier Hospital, with the Opposition raising questions about Labor’s’ priorities.

Prior to the 2022 State Election, Premier Malinauskas pledged to invest $24m in the hospital, including $8m for the emergency department.

The commitment also included an additional $11.4m to double the mental health unit and $4.6m for two dedicated drug and alcohol detox beds.

However, the Liberal Opposition has claimed that despite being elected more than two years ago, construction still has not begun on Premier Malinauskas’ key health promise to residents of the Limestone Coast.

Liberal Leader David Speirs, who is due to visit Mount Gambier later this week, said in contrast work has already begun on the $40m upgrade of the Lyndoch Recreation Park to make it AFL Gather Round ready – a project announced by Premier Malinauskas three weeks ago.

Mr Speirs said while the upgrades at Lyndoch were welcomed, it seemed a sports project was progressing at “lightning speed while an important health upgrade is being left in limbo”.

“The lack of progress on the upgrades to the Mount Gambier Hospital is incredibly disappointing and demonstrates that regional health services are not a priority for Peter Malinauskas,” Mr Speirs said.

“While we absolutely welcome the upgrades at Lyndoch, we do question why a football field gets immediate attention while essential health services on the Limestone Coast remain neglected – and two years after Labor claimed upgrades were ‘urgent’.

“Mount Gambier’s seen little from Peter Malinauskas since the election as he tries to hide from his record of failure and Adelaide-centric spending.

“South Australia’s entire hospital system is under incredible pressure at the moment and it’s time we see some action from Peter Malinauskas, not just empty promises.”

Regional Health Services Shadow Minister Penny Pratt said the lack of progress on the Mount Gambier Hospital reflected a “broader pattern of neglect towards regional health services under Peter Malinauskas”.

“Whether its disruptions to midwifery services, the massive barriers in accessing psychiatric services, or their lack of funding for the Patient Assistance Scheme – Labor is failing when it comes to regional healthcare time and time again,” Ms Pratt said.

“Peter Malinauskas’ failure to start construction on his promise to upgrade the Mount Gambier Hospital more than two years on is not just disappointing, it’s unacceptable.

“As Labor continues to put flashy pet projects first over regional health initiatives, he’s making it crystal clear to the people of the Limestone Coast where his priorities lie.”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional South Australia Ben Hood said as a Mount Gambier local he was well aware of the pressures the hospital is experiencing.

“The incredible strain on our health system is not just a problem in the city, and under Labor capacity issues at Mount Gambier Hospital have been a growing concern,” Mr Hood said.

“The state of our health services is one of the big concerns locals constantly raise with me, and right now many in my community feel as though their wellbeing just is not a priority for Peter Malinauskas.

“The people of the South East called on this government to ensure radiotherapy services for the region and yet we still are suffering through a feasibility study to determine what the community already knows – the Limestone Coast deserves investment in health services.

“Why doesn’t the Premier understand that?

“Empty promises do not heal wounds or save lives, so it’s time for Peter Malinauskas to get on with delivering these much-needed upgrades for the Mount Gambier Hospital sooner rather than later.”

In reply, Health Minister Chris Picton said the Liberal Party failed to commit to a substantial upgrade of Mount Gambier’s health services despite four years in government.

“This criticism is particularly galling given the Liberals did not match our $24m election commitment to the hospital,” Minister Picton 


“Their re-election would have meant no upgrades to the Emergency Department, mental health or drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

“The project is currently out to tender and is on track to commence in coming months.

“Works will be completed in late 2025 as scheduled.

“These upgrades will be staged to minimise disruption to the hospitals operations and are part of more than $52m of health service commitments we have made to the Limestone Coast.

“The budget of the Limestone Coast Local Health Network has increased by more than $31m since the Malinauskas Labor Government came to office, an increase of more than 19% compared to the former Liberal Government’s final budget in 2021-22.”

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