Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Mildura Base Public Hospital


Mildura Base Public Hospital

Ms CUPPER (Mildura) (14:24): My question is for the Premier. Premier, your government saved our hospital and our community from a disastrous privatisation experiment that was imposed on us in 1998 and then reimposed on us in 2015. We are very grateful that your government listened and acted, but that disaster carried a long legacy and we need a new hospital. Will your government commit to funding one?

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier) (14:24): I thank the member for Mildura for her question, and I thank her for her acknowledgement that back in 1998—and that does seem a long time ago—there was a decision made by a former government, not a government of our political persuasion, to privatise the Mildura hospital to make it for profit, not for patients. We then, as was just indicated, and I am indebted to the member for Mildura because she has reminded us all that in 2015—

A member interjected.

Mr ANDREWS: Well, there are very few indebted to you lot after having sold the thing off—

Members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS:Then we got from over there, somewhere down on the front bench, ‘Oh, in 2015 you were in power’. In the dead of night that wonderful individual in the other place, Mr Davis, decided with no consultation, no community input, being the fount of all knowledge—

Members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS: Well, maybe early in the day, maybe late in the day—who knows when he made the decision? But it was not one of his best because he decided to extend the privatisation of the Mildura base hospital, and it was only upon our election that we were able to reverse that.

Ms Ryan interjected.

Mr ANDREWS: The member for Euroa may have a different view about these things, but that is the history of this matter.

Members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS: And I apologise for forgetting the name of your electorate. But that is why you can only undo the damage that some people do when you are in government. That would explain the discrepancy in time. But in any event, having corrected the record, this is a public hospital. We are very proud to have done that. This is a—

Members interjecting.

Mr ANDREWS: Well, again, some can laugh all they like. And which political party represented the good people of Mildura and Sunraysia prior to the election of the independent member? That would be right, the people who are laughing at Mildura right now. The fact of the matter is this: the member for Mildura is a passionate advocate on behalf of the staff at her public hospital, the patients at her public hospital and the community that that health service serves so well. I am not in a position today to make a commitment to a redeveloped hospital, and the oohs and aahs of those who sold it off—that will not treat any patients. That does not mean very much. That does not mean very much at all. I would point out to the honourable member, as she well knows, there is a master plan process that is underway and the government, in its decisions for the future, will be well informed by that master plan process. It is a public hospital for patients, not for profit, and only because of this Labor government.

Ms CUPPER (Mildura) (14:27): If the master plan recommends a new hospital for Mildura, and also in light of the fact that there is a new federal government and perhaps a new federal health minister who might be so inclined to discuss co-contributions, in the event of that opportunity would you commit to funding one?

Mr ANDREWS (Mulgrave—Premier) (14:28): Again, I am very grateful to the member for Mildura for pointing out that there is a new federal government that knows where regional Victoria and the rest of Victoria is, which is a wholly good thing. The new Prime Minister on Friday—the new federal government in partnership with all first ministers—decided not to proceed with Mr Morrison’s cutbacks but to extend health funding until the end of the year. That is a wholly good thing for the people of Mildura, Mulgrave, every community across our state and indeed across our nation.

What I can say to the member for Mildura is no-one is questioning the passion and the effectiveness that the member for Mildura brings to her advocacy and brings to her role. There is an alcohol and other drugs facility being built in that community because the member for Mildura raised it. We will be informed by the master plan, and of course we will work with you to lobby the new federal government to make sure that they can be a partner in any improvements for health, particularly in rural and regional Victoria.