The following Question Without Notice was asked by the new Member for Murray-Wellington, Robyn Clarke to the Hon Roger Cook, Minister for Health, in Parliament yesterday:
Mrs R.M.J. CLARKE to the Minister for Health:
I refer to the Peel Mobile Health Service, which the previous Liberal–National government and the member for Dawesville provided no funding for, and had planned to scrap from July this year. Can the minister give a
commitment to my community that he will address its concerns and keep this vital service for at least another year?
Mr R.H. COOK replied:
I thank the member for the question. It is an issue on which she has been particularly strong, advocating for her community, also along with the member for Mandurah, to try to keep this service going at a difficult time for the member for Murray–Wellington’s community. I acknowledge the work she has done. Occasionally I am aware of the member for Dawesville poking his nose into this issue. It is interesting that while I have had numerous questions about the colour of pens and pencils in my office, and the contents of our stationery cupboard, the member for Dawesville, despite being a member of the background chattering political classes, has never actually opted to ask a question about this issue, which has to do with community services. I know the member for Dawesville is new to this place, but let me tell him that, if he wants any longevity in this place, it is time he started caring for the people in his community, not being distracted by tricky games with questions on notice.
Under a review by the previous government of the budget of the South Metropolitan Health Service, the Peel Mobile Health Service was due for axing by 30 June this year. This service provides outreach services to many people in the bushfire-impacted communities of Waroona and Yarloop. Once the issue was brought to my attention, the member for Murray–Wellington and I addressed the situation. I was able to find an extra three months’ funding, up until September, for the service, as a way that we could potentially transition the service. The member for Murray–Wellington, working with people in the community, was concerned that we needed more funding to continue to provide those outreach services to the victims of the Yarloop bushfire. The member for Murray–Wellington worked assiduously with the Shire of Waroona to see what other funding could be found, and approached the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and me about unspent bushfire relief funding. I am pleased to say that we are now in a position to make those funds available, which will see the Peel Mobile Health Service continue for another 12 months.
This is a very important period in the life of those communities because, now that they are confronting a lot of the issues around reparation and rebuilding, a lot of the psychological and mental health conditions start to show themselves. It takes a member like the member for Murray–Wellington, who understands these issues and is working closely with the community, to put things in place. I want to acknowledge the work that she has done, in partnership with the manager of GP Down South, Denise Puddick, and the Shire of Waroona, to make sure that we can continue to provide this important service for the next 12 months to make sure that during this particularly vulnerable period, we have this once-off funding to make sure that this service can continue for the next year, so well done, member.