The voice of over 12,000 Illawarra petitioners opposing the privatisation of Shellharbour Hospital was heard in the Legislative Assembly of the NSW Parliament this afternoon.

The petition, which was tabled by Anna Watson MP on 30 May 2017, called on the Government to ensure that both Shellharbour and Port Kembla Public hospitals are publicly operated and kept in public hands.

In 2015, the Coalition Government made a re-election promise to invest $251 million dollars and fully fund the upgrade of Shellharbour Public Hospital.

In September of last year Jillian Skinner, the former Minister for Health announced that this upgrade would take place under a public-private partnership model instead.

This announcement was made without any prior consultation with the community or Shellharbour Hospital’s nurses and doctors.

The Government has backed down on privatisation proposal’s for four other hospitals, leaving only Shellharbour Hospital’s future dangling.

Anna Watson MP, Paul Scully MP and Ryan Park MP today thanked the Shellharbour Hospital Branch of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Unions NSW, the Health Services Union, ASMOF the Doctors’ Union, and the South Coast Labour Council for their tireless efforts in organising the gathering of petition signatures, and the support of the local Illawarra community.

Approximately 50 staff and concerned residents of the Illawarra travelled to NSW Parliament this afternoon to support the petition and see the debate in the Parliament.

Comments attributable to Anna Watson MP:

“I stand with the nurses, doctors, patients and residents of my community when I say “Keep Shellharbour Hospital Public”.

“If this public-private partnership goes ahead this Government will be going against the recommendations of experts, the wishes of my community and will be leading New South Wales down a slippery slope into an Americanised health care system.

“I will accept nothing less than a complete back down by the Government on this issue. I am calling on the Government to keep Shellharbour Hospital in public hands and ditch plans for its privatisation, as a matter of priority.”

Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:

“The voice of 12,000 Illawarra residents was heard on the floor of the Parliament this afternoon.

“The Government has backed down on every other privatisation proposal for hospitals put forward last year, and it is now time for it to do the same for Shellharbour Hospital.

“Our community does not support the Government’s for –profit privatisation obsession with our health care.

“They want their Medicare Card to determine the health care they need, not some for-profit accountant.”

Comments attributable to Ryan Park MP:

“I pay tribute to our local community for standing together in very clear opposition to the Government’s privatisation plan for Shellharbour Hospital.

“We have a very clear message for the Government: abandon this privatisation of our health care.

“It’s time for the Government to deliver on its election pledge to invest the $251 million into Shellharbour Hospital and to keep it in public hands.”


10 August 2017