South Australia’s Labor Party has pledged to cut a $ 667 million sports and entertainment arena – pledged by the current state government if re-elected – to funnel funds into the healthcare system instead troubled state.
- In March, the state government announced the construction of a $ 667 million sports and entertainment arena in Adelaide’s CBD.
- Labor say if elected they will abandon the arena and invest the funds in the healthcare system
- In Tuesday’s budget, the government unveiled the cost of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and a $ 163.5 million mental health program
In March, Prime Minister Steven Marshall announced plans to build the stadium by 2026 in the empty space between Adelaide’s marshalling yards and the Torrens River west of the city.
The stadium will have a capacity of 15,000 spectators and will host concerts, conventions and other events, as well as basketball and netball matches.
Ahead of his budget response speech, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas told ABC Radio Adelaide that now is not the right time to spend taxpayer dollars in an arena when the public health system is ” in crisis”.
“Our healthcare system needs more resources now, not a basketball stadium,” he said.
“If you spend half an hour or 45 minutes with ambos right now and hear about the stories they experience firsthand, it’s pretty devastating.
“It’s shocking and they made it clear that they are at the breaking point, really at the breaking point.”
Paramedics across the state have taken industrial action, writing messages on their ambulances to highlight the ramping up issues at major hospitals in Adelaide.
Data released by the SA Ambulance Service in May showed patients and crews spent 2,281 hours ramping in April alone.
The Australian Federation of Nurses and Midwives also highlighted problems at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, including a bed block and understaffing.
Mr Malinauskas said Labor was “realistic” in what the state could and could not afford in the future.
“I think the priority at the moment should be health and that’s why we made this decision.
“This is not our entire health policy, but what it gives me and my team the ability to do is invest more in health, more in our program and we describe it in some detail between now and the election. “
In Tuesday’s budget, the government announced a $ 163.5 million mental health program to ease pressure on the state’s public hospital system and emergency departments.
The plan includes a 20-bed acute psychiatric facility for the elderly in Modbury, costing $ 48 million over the next four years, while a 16-bed facility will be built in the northern suburbs and will operate 24 hours. out of 24 as a “crisis stabilization institution”. $ 33.1 million.
Budget documents also revealed that the new women’s and children’s hospital is expected to cost $ 1.95 billion and be completed by 2026, with patients scheduled to be admitted in 2027 – a year later than expected.