Spends promised money on committee meetings instead of doctors

The Turnbull Government has failed to deliver additional funds promised to fix the GP shortage on the Peninsula and has instead spent the money on committee meetings.

In 2017 the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and local Liberal MP Lucy Wicks announced a Peninsula GP Committee would be established with $100,000 in funds to “solve the ongoing GP workforce shortage on the Peninsula”. The promise followed years of reports by local residents about their inability to access a GP on the Peninsula.

However, a recent Senate inquiry revealed that none of the money had been used to hire additional doctors and that instead $2,000 had been spent on Committee meetings. The inquiry also heard that the Turnbull Government never allocated any new money but instead removed $100,000 from the existing local health budget to pay for it.

In further evidence it was revealed that the Government would now direct the $98,000 not spent on committee meetings towards addressing the needs of the wider PHN area, which stretches to the Queensland border. The Department of Health also refused to guarantee that the remaining $98,000 would be spent to fix the Peninsula GP crisis.

Anne Charlton, Labor Candidate for Robertson, says this latest failure to address the health care needs of the Peninsula continues to show the Government doesn’t understand the local community.

“Not a single dollar of the promised money has been used to recruit a GP to the Peninsula”, said Mr Charlton.

“Instead we have had money pulled out of the local health budget to fund committee meetings. This comes after years of the Turnbull Government cutting health care funding on the Peninsula and across the Central Coast.”

Since the funding was promised the Committee has met four times and stopped meeting in August last year.

“This was a cynical announcement by Malcolm Turnbull designed to distract from the reality that he doesn’t understand the concerns and needs of the Peninsula”, said Ms Charlton.

“And all along the local Liberal Member of Parliament Lucy Wicks said nothing. We shouldn’t need committee meetings to help her convince the Liberal Government that the Peninsula matters. We need a local Member of Parliament who can get things done.”

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