The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (14:41): My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Can the minister provide an update about the implementation of the government's policy regarding the Repatriation General Hospital.
Can the minister also provide details regarding the estimated time frame for implementation of this policy?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:41): I thank the honourable member for his question and acknowledge his long-term interest in undoing the damage of Labor's Transforming Health. This government was elected with a commitment to reactivate the Repat site as a genuine health precinct and to work with the community in doing so. As minister, one of my early actions was to stop Labor's sale of the site and secure it for public health services going forward. We reopened the hydrotherapy pool and began the community engagement process we had promised.
On the 17th of this month, the government released the master plan for the site for public comment. Yesterday, Morrison government ministers Greg Hunt, Minister for Health, and the Hon. Ken Wyatt, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, together with the federal member for Boothby, Nicolle Flint, the Premier, myself and state members including the member for Elder came together to be part of an announcement of a joint investment of $70 million in the reactivation of the Repat site. The Morrison government has committed $30 million for a new statewide brain and spinal rehabilitation unit, with a 26-bed inpatient ward, and ongoing funding of $1.3 million per year for the operation of an eight-bed specialist care dementia unit.
The Marshall Liberal government's commitment of nearly $40 million will support an 18-bed, tier 7 dementia unit, replacing some of the beds lost through the closure of the Oakden facility. The funding will provide a state-of-the-art gymnasium for all brain and spinal patients as well as a 'town centre' in the heart of the Repat to create a community hub and open outdoor space on the precinct. The town square redevelopment will also include refurbishment of the SPF Hall and a new cafe.
As I said yesterday, this is not the end of the conversation about the Repat. Other parts of the precinct provide an opportunity for surgical procedures and care transition. We are working with a non-government organisation for the provision of what will become a 60-bed dementia hub and other partnership discussions continuing.
Recognising the history of this site, I am also in discussions with veterans' groups and ex-service personnel. I have reaffirmed the Marshall Liberal government's determination that the Repat chapel, the remembrance gardens, the museum and the SPF Hall are protected as community assets for the future. While yesterday's announcement is not the finish line, it brings the government one step closer to its commitment to reactivate the Repat as a critical part of the state's health system.
Labor broke their promise to 'never, ever close the Repat', cutting more than 100 beds from the health system. This has directly contributed to the pressure the health system faces today. The Ambulance Employees Association's Phil Palmer this week said that he could see that the closure of the Repat would increase the risk of ramping. In his own words, he said:
I stood on the steps of the Repat protesting the closure of that because I could see that would contribute to reducing capacity and therefore increasing the chance of ramping.
Labor broke South Australia's health system. The Repat announcement is a clear demonstration of the determination of this government to fix that mess.