Move risky for ser­vice

Pilbara News - - Pilbara | Opinion - Jac­qui Boy­dell WA Na­tion­als deputy leader

I write to out­line my sup­port for the Kar­ratha step-up, step-down men­tal health fa­cil­ity to be de­vel­oped at the cur­rent site flagged for de­vel­op­ment.

The $9.7 mil­lion six-bed step-up, step-down men­tal health ser­vice was an­nounced by the pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ment af­ter it was ap­proved by Cabi­net in 2016.

It would be funded by Roy­al­ties for Re­gions and was ini­ti­ated in part­ner­ship with the lo­cal gov­ern­ment and de­vel­oped on the ba­sis of a sound busi­ness case.

While its open­ing date was flagged for 2018, it is now un­clear when, and if, the project will be de­liv­ered.

While I note com­mu­nity con­cerns about its prox­im­ity to the lo­cal RSL club and school, I must em­pha­sise that if the project doesn’t pro­ceed at the cur­rent site its fu­ture is not as­sured.

In light of the La­bor Gov­ern­ment’s re­view of all Roy­al­ties for Re­gions projects and plans to slash a large por­tion of re­gional de­vel­op­ment ex­pen­di­ture, it is a con­cern that this project could be at risk if the site is re­lo­cated be­cause any move would re­quire a new busi­ness case and Cabi­net ap­proval.

The step-up, step-down fa­cil­ity will pro­vide short-term res­i­den­tial sup­port for peo­ple af­ter hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion for men­tal ill­ness or those at risk of de­te­ri­o­rat­ing men­tal health and pos­si­ble hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion.

Given the fa­cil­ity will mean those bat­tling men­tal ill­ness won’t have to travel to Perth for treat­ment, and that they will be sup­ported through their tran­si­tion in their own com­mu­nity, there is a lot at stake. If the La­bor Gov­ern­ment’s record in re­gional in­vest­ment is any­thing to go by, this project could be on the chop­ping block. The big ques­tion is — will lo­cal Mem­ber for Pil­bara Kevin Michel fight for the fu­ture of the fund­ing or will he sit back and toe the party line?

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