This weekend the Save Our Services campaign, led by UnionsWA and public sector unions, commences a campaign highlighting WA government mismanagement of hospital privatisation and health services. This follows a recent poll commissioned by Save Our Services that shows health and hospitals to be the most important issue for West Australian voters. Ged Kearney, President of the ACTU and a nurse by background, joined campaign supporters to release details of the campaign.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“There is an almost unbelievable queue of mismanagement stuff-ups by the WA government when it comes to our hospital and health services.
“These range from cost blow outs for the Fiona Stanley Hospital and increasing parking fees through to the toxic site that should be our Children’s Hospital.
“This mismanagement isn’t only costing money; it puts lives at risk.
“Surgery waiting lists have blown out to almost 22,000 and ambulance ramping has doubled in the past year.
“UnionsWA and public sector unions are deliberately ramping up our efforts for the 2017 WA election early in order to highlight public thinking about the Barnett government record of mismanagement.
“Our recent poll found that, unprompted, West Australians rank health and hospitals as their highest priority.
“West Australians are sick of waiting for this government to get it together.
“The total campaign budget for Save Our Services is $1.5 million.
“This includes provision for television, suburban newspaper, digital and other advertising.
“Our email lists, online followers and supporters now number over 21,000.
“In the past year we’ve involved over 250 volunteers.
“Over the coming months these volunteers will be at a range of local events from the Palmyra Market to the Gidgegannup Show.
“We’re also telephoning voters in key target electorates.
“We’re having conversations, not only about the mismanagement of public services, but also about what kind of a community and future for jobs we want in Western Australia.”
Ged Kearney, ACTU President said:
“Australia-wide we are slowly learning the lessons of privatisation.
“Having worked as a nurse for over 20 years, I am genuinely worried about the impact of privatisation on our hospitals and health system.
“Too often service privatisation and cuts prove short-sighted and end up costing more in the long run.
“The recent black-out in South Australia is a classic example – the result, not of renewable energy, but of a privatised electricity network that failed to maintain infrastructure investment.
“Recent comments from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's chair, Rod Sims have criticised privatisations as costing consumers and that, quote: “I am now at the point of almost opposing privatisation.”
Details of the recent UnionsWA/Save Our Services poll are available here.
Comments on privatisation by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's chair Rod Sims available here.
Interested to be involved in the campaign? More information here.