What’s behind the secret little black boxes, Minister?


Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson has demanded the Minister for Health publicly release redacted costing for the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital, which is contained in a secret Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Asset Strategic Plan 2013/14-2023/24 held by the Minister since June 2013 and obtained under Freedom of Information.

“The Minister has been in possession of this secret document since June 2013, which provides comprehensive information on the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital in two phases.

“This Plan also contains the actual costing for implementing the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital which has been redacted under secret little black boxes throughout the document.

“The local community in my electorate are entitled to know what the State Liberal Government knows about the investment required for the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital”, she said.

Ms Watson has also written to the Minister, Jillian Skinner MP, requesting that she meet with her and Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward MP, to personally discuss the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital.

“I assume you would be interested to know firsthand that two local State Members of Parliament, representing both major political parties in the southern Illawarra, are in strong bipartisan support for the upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital”, Ms Watson wrote in her letter.

Mr Ward has started a petition to support the upgrade and calls on the State Liberal Government to fund it.

“Surely, also knowing this is the case [of her and Mr Ward’s support for the upgrade], you would dissuade Mr Ward wasting the time of the local community in pursuing the need for a pre-election publicity stunt of gathering signatures for a petition to you when you are aware that two local MPs are in strong agreement that a major health facility in the southern Illawarra should be upgraded”, she said in the letter.

Ms Watson personally handed the Minister’s office a draw full of 500 personally signed letters to the Minister from her constituents on the 26 March 2013 and mentioned she had done so in the Legislative Assembly on the 27 March 2013.

“We don’t need pre-election petition stunts by Mr Ward and his ‘mini-me’ Liberal candidate in Shellharbour.

“There is no need for Mr Ward and the Liberal Party to play election politics with the health of our local constituents.

“The Minister already knows how much funding is required to upgrade Shellharbour Hospital and she should be made aware that both Mr Ward and I support this upgrade.

“I’m even willing to drive Mr Ward to the meeting with the Minister to ensure she is fully aware that we both fully support the need to upgrade Shellharbour Hospital”, she said.


15 January 2015