KAP go missing in action during crucial vote

The Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) failed to show up to a crucial vote in Parliament on Tuesday that could have prevented the Palaszczuk Labor Government from taking over local hospital boards. Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle said the LNP Opposition voted against a Palaszczuk Labor Government’s Bill containing clauses that would have given the Health Minister the right to appoint people to local hospital boards at his whim. “It is incredibly disappointing that KAP members, who often claim to be local champions, didn’t bother to be present for the vote,” Mr McArdle said. “Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth missed a prime opportunity to support local decision making and stop the Palaszczuk Government from doing what Labor does best – undermine our health system.


“Surely they know that the best thing for the Cairns & Hinterland, Mount Isa and Townsville Hospital and Health Service boards is having locals in control and free from interference from Brisbane.”


Mr McArdle said the Palaszczuk Government’s new legislation allowed the Minister to appoint a person without advertising the position, going through the proper merit-based selection process or getting approval from Cabinet or Governor-in-Council.


“There was no requirement in the bill for the appointee to even live in the area, which means you could end up having someone from Brisbane making decisions about services at Cloncurry, Charters Towers or Ravenshoe hospitals,” he said.

“So residents in the Mount Isa and Dalrymple electorates can forget about having local decision making and autonomy for their health services, instead they’ll end up with captains’ picks from Health Minister Cameron Dick and a return to George Street bureaucrats controlling our hospitals.


“This Palaszczuk Labor Government is clearly frozen at the wheel and taking our health system backwards. If only the KAP had been there, it could have been prevented.”


Mr McArdle said the LNP had always supported the principle that local people including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals must have a strong say in how their local hospitals are run.


“Local hospital boards are run by men and women who know the local lie of the land and by imposing an outsider without local knowledge is dangerous,” he said.


“How often do we hear that local people know how to deal best with local issues? This is no more evident than in treating patients on a local basis.”


Mr McArdle said the LNP voted against this proposal and will reverse the policy if elected at the next election.


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