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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Perrottet's Petty Politics leaves a sour taste

For well over a decade Dr Michael Holland has tirelessly campaigned for better access to improved health services in the Eurobodalla. Along with the founding members of the One Hospital Eurobodalla group Dr Holland presented a 3000 signature petition on October 31, 2018 to then NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian calling for a regional hospital to service the Eurobodalla region as well as improvement of services to be provided immediately within the existing infrastructure as recommended by the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation. The petition read in part: We, the undersigned, respectfully ask the Legislative Assembly to direct the Minister for Health to; Provide immediate improvement to the Accident & Emergency, Critical Care and Perioperative services of the Eurobodalla Shire by funding and upgrading the existing infrastructure and workforce. The Minister, Brad Hazzard, wrote in his December 2018 response: "I am advised that the new Eurobodalla Health Service Clinical Services Plan is in development and will assess health services required for the Eurobodalla communities, develop models of care, and identify workforce requirements." "I am advised that additional staffing levels are being reviewed and a planning process is under way to ensure resulting staffing levels are balanced."

A year later there were still no improvement so a new petition was launched by Dr Holland that described the current health care situation in the Eurobodalla as “unethical”. While the government sat on its hands the region's population has spiked, Covid has played its role in placing extreme pressure on staff and several strong state wide protests calling for improved nurse ratios have come and gone, having fallen on deaf ears. Three and a half years later on January 19th, 2023 we witnessed the opening of the expanded emergency treatment and care services at Moruya Hospital by the Premier. What we also witnessed was a very weak act of his minders whisking him into the hospital via a back door so that he didn't have to confront three nurses holding placards at the front of the hospital adjacent to a lectern and posters set up for the official opening. Most embarrassingly, Dr Michael Holland, the strongest advocate for the facility was not invited to attend, nor was the Mayor of Eurobodalla as might be a courtesy. Instead the Premier had the neighbouring Mayor of Bega assist in the ribbon cutting. This pettiness was most likely because the Mayor of Bega is also the Liberal Candidate for the region in the upcoming State election and Dr Michael Holland is now the sitting Labor Member for Bega. Directly after the ribbon cutting the Premier was once again whisked out to attend an invitation only luncheon in Narooma, accompanied by Bega Liberal candidate Russell Fitzpatrick, he spent more than an hour meeting businesses at Club Narooma to hear their concerns. Marion Williams of the Narooma News reveals (January 24 2023 ) that "The Premier's office contacted Jenny Munro, president of the Narooma Chamber of Commerce, and asked her to invite business owners who would be interested in meeting Mr Perrottet". Adding to the tokenism of the Premier's visit to the region, other than for a ribbon cutting of a facility that remains understaffed was the failure of the Premier to commit to more than a coffee with the Eurobodalla Mayor, Mat Hatcher, to discuss the homeless and housing affordability issues of the region, given that the State Government is solely responsible for crisis and social housing. Oddly The Beagle was not invited to the media call. Had we been we would have asked some pointed, and most likely, uncomfortable questions. Irrespective of whatever colour underwear the Premier of NSW wears, be it Blue, Red, Green, Teal or Rainbow there is an expectation that they have a backbone rather than slink about, doing the best they can to control the narrative via their chosen media outlets and photo opportunities. Hopefully we, as a community, are intelligent enough to see through the spin and call it out when we see it.

Above: Perrottet was unwilling to answer some basic questions around staffing for the new facility and around the staffing shortfalls and closure of health services in the South East

Above: Where's Brad in the lineup supposedly opening the facility?

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NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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