Financial Performance in the South Australian Health Budget

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: I have spoken a number of times in this place about the state's health services, particularly relating to mental health and suicide prevention, and have been pleased to learn from the minister in this place about the current government's investment in health in the recent budget. Will the minister update the council on the financial performance in the South Australian health budget?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:31): I thank the honourable member for his question. Approximately one-third of the South Australian state budget is spent on the health and wellbeing portfolio. It is crucial that such an important proportion of public funding be properly and responsibly managed; yet yesterday the Auditor-General's Report into the health budget performance in the last financial year describes a budget performance that is not what South Australian taxpayers deserve. What the Auditor-General describes is yet another damning indictment of Labor's complete mismanagement of health. On the very first page the Auditor-General states:

The strategies employed in the public health system to consistently achieve LHN and SAAS budget targets have not worked over many years.

'Many years' at least includes the last 16 years. The Auditor-General goes on to say:

Based on Department for Health and Wellbeing forecasting as at May 2018, LHNs and SAAS were estimated to exceed their combined 2017-18 budgets by $467 million.

The Auditor-General's statements make a mockery of the opposition's claims that their overspending in health was less than reported. The Auditor-General has called them out for their trickery and reiterated the figures put forward in this place by my colleague the Treasurer. The Auditor-General goes on to say on the next page:

There was no long-term financial plan that drew together all strategies across the Health portfolio and described how it intended to meet forward estimates and savings expectations.

Labor and the now Leader of the Opposition, as minister for health, mismanaged health: the Auditor-General has made it clear for all South Australians and he has put a figure on it. Their mismanagement in the last year saw an almost half billion dollar overspend and they had no plan to stop the bleeding.

Even after Labor cut services with Transforming Health, closing hospitals and downgrading other hospitals, they still found that even with this reduced level of services they were still overspending the budget—and members opposite still don't get it. The shadow minister for health has shown himself completely unconcerned saying this morning on radio, 'This isn't money down the back of the couch.'

This is the shadow minister who was the assistant minister for health in the previous government.

Instead of apologising to the people of South Australia on behalf of his leader and his party, the member for Kaurna pretends that it is not a problem. He has not apologised for the closing of the Repat, he has not apologised for downgrading services across the city and neither has he apologised for the $2.4 billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital which was more than $600 million over budget and is still not working effectively. The member for Kaurna has shown that Labor has not changed; they have not learnt from Transforming Health; they are happy to sneer at a half billion dollar budget overspend.

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