Adjournment – Health

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Mr PITT (Hinkler) (11:08): Early next week, two oral healthcare centres are scheduled to be officially opened by the Queensland Minister for Health in my electorate of Hinkler. Unfortunately, I cannot be there due to parliamentary sittings in Canberra. But I would like put on the record my thanks to the LNP MPs Steven Bennett and Ted Sorensen, the members for Burnett and Hervey Bay, for representing me at the opening of the oral care facilities, and for ensuring this funding was delivered to our region when they were in government.

A new two-storey building at the Bundaberg Base Hospital will accommodate oral health services on the ground floor and cancer care on level 1. The state government has provided $9.5 million for the oral health services. This will increase the number of dental chairs available in Bundaberg from six to 13. The facilities include nine technician workstations and significant sterilising departments to enable all reprocessing. I look forward to opening the cancer care facilities in the same building in the near future. The federal government has contributed $8.27 million to the cancer care services, which will provide an additional six chemotherapy chairs, bringing the total to 12. There are two dedicated isolation rooms, specialist consultation suites and clinical education and teaching facilities. A further $700,000 was allocated from the emergent works program for flood mitigation arising from the 2013 floods.

Adjacent to the Hervey Bay Hospital site, at the southern end of the electorate, a two-storey building will also accommodate oral services on the ground floor and cancer care on level 1. The state government has provided $8 million to double the number of dental chairs to 16, dramatically improving waiting times for patients on the Fraser Coast. The federal government has provided $9.29 million for cancer care in the same building at Hervey Bay to increase the number of chemotherapy chairs from nine to 14. The facilities also include two dedicated isolation rooms. I look forward to officially opening the Hervey Bay cancer unit. These new facilities will significantly improve wait times for patients. The expanded services will also create opportunities to partner with universities to offer student placements. But of course health services are not just bricks and mortar. It is not possible to provide quality health care without a mass of hardworking staff: doctors, nurses, allied health, admin, cleaners and, of course, maintenance. I would like to congratulate all those who work at the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and thank them for serving our communities.

As outlined in the 2015-16 federal budget, the coalition government has increased funding to Queensland hospitals by 27 per cent over the next four years. The federal government has provided $5.6 million to the new Bundaberg oncology centre, Oceania Oncology. We have provided $50,000 for patient accommodation at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Bundaberg and we have announced that a new headspace facility will be established in Bundaberg to help local youth who suffer from or are at risk of developing mental illness. This will complement the headspace centre at Hervey Bay. I note that the tenders were advertised recently for the headspace in Bundaberg. We have provided $47.1 million for St Stephen’s Hospital, the first fully digital hospital in Australia. We have also provided more than $88 million in recurrent funding to residential aged care and home care across the Hinkler electorate.

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending a dinner hosted by the Friendly Society Private Hospital and Bundaberg Cardiology and Medtronic. Local GPs, ambulance officers and other local health professionals gathered to hear four cardiologists talk about the services and facilities now available in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. We heard about the latest diagnostic tools and equipment, the history of cardiology and its importance locally. Dr Andre Conradie, Dr Hermann Wittmer, Dr Ahmedullah Rehmani and Dr Paul Davison were all incredibly inspiring and gave me confidence that our region’s heart health is in very good hands. Later this month I will be attending the official opening of the UQ Health Sciences Learning and Discovery Centre in Bundaberg.

As you can see, Madam Speaker, there is a great deal happening in the health space in my electorate. I am passionate about ensuring that those in regional Australia can access quality health care. For people who are out there considering relocation and for those who think that the price of housing might be a little too high in the area they are in—I would encourage them to shift to my electorate. We have fantastic facilities. We have fantastic local health services and lots of wonderful doctors and nurses. We have the greatest seafood in Australia, right out of Hervey Bay. We have fantastic horticulture and great links for transport. We are upgrading the Bruce Highway—$6.7 billion in federal funding to make it faster, safer and less affected by flooding, which is of incredible importance if you live in a state like Queensland. Hopefully we will have a wet season in the west of Queensland this year, where it is absolutely desperately needed.

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