Rural Health Initiatives

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: My question is directed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister update the council on recent rural health initiatives?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I would like to thank the honourable member for his question and obviously pay tribute to his long-term advocacy for South Australians living in rural and regional areas. The former Labor government neglected rural South Australia. That is why the Marshall Liberal government was elected, with a firm commitment to redress this imbalance. While there will always be challenges in delivering health services to rural and remote areas, there is no excuse for neglect. The Marshall Liberal government has already put $20 million into a rural health workforce strategy and is investing $140 million to clear the backlog of capital works.

Earlier this year, the Morrison Liberal government allocated a full MRI licence for the Riverland General Hospital, which is a huge win for the people of the Riverland. The Marshall Liberal government is activating that opportunity by investing $4 million to deliver the MRI machine and associated capital works to house it. This is a real win for the community of the Riverland, ensuring they can get better access to scans, including more comprehensive scans.

This government is proud that we have invested $4 million to activate the Morrison Liberal government's allocation of a full MRI licence. Some $1.5 million will buy a new state-of-the-art Tesla MRI machine, with the remaining $2.5 million for the capital works necessary to house the MRI machine. It is expected that the installation of the MRI machine at the Riverland hospital will allow for around 10 scans a day. That will mean a significant benefit to residents of the Riverland, obviating the need for many of them to travel to the city for medical imaging. There is still a lot of work to be done to address 16 years of Labor's neglect, although this is just another concrete example of the Marshall Liberal government working with the federal government to support better health outcomes for rural South Australians.