Health is such a crucial issue in this state election because the health system is failing.
Nowhere is this more evident than in my electorate, the Northern Metropolitan Region – the north of Melbourne doesn’t just need its existing health infrastructure buttressed; it needs an entire new hospital.
The north needs more than an expanded Northern Hospital. It needs a new, well-resourced facility to meet demand.
Neither the Government nor the Opposition are proposing anything near sufficient to deal with the needs of the region. The Northern Health catchment includes three of the state’s six largest growth areas – Hume, Whittlesea and Mitchell.
The Northern Hospital has only 400 beds. It is basically overwhelmed. Staff are exhausted and require better support.
It has the busiest emergency department in the state, treating approximately 100,000 patients each year. There can be distressingly long wait times for emergency beds.
The swift development of new suburbs in the north will see our population grow by 17 per cent, or 85 000 people, in the next five years alone, and by more than half by 2036.
Reason Party’s overarching platform is:
- A well-resourced second hospital in the north, not merely an upgraded Northern Hospital.
- An urgent recovery plan for our health system – perhaps via public inquiry.
- Increased investment in mental health.
If re-elected, I will work hard to secure a new hospital for the north, and for much-needed improvements to the health system, including a greater focus on prevention, early-intervention, and mental health.
When Reason Party talks with residents in the Northern Health catchment, we continually hear about impossibly long wait times, burnt-out healthcare workers, and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities being unable to access crucial care.
From rising fees and impossible-to-find appointments at GP clinics to excruciating wait times at emergency departments, the Victorian system is overburdened and failing to meet the needs of our growing population.
Reason Party and I believe building an accessible, comprehensive, strong healthcare system should not be viewed as an ‘expense’, but as an absolute necessity.
Policy Big Picture:
DATA BASE: My time in electoral politics since 2014 has been driven by a desire to make the place a bit fairer and better. I have done that through evidence-based policy and first principles including equality of opportunity, accountability, transparency and compassion.
GETTING STUFF DONE: Achievements include assisted dying legislation; improvements in women’s health; better and extended protection for minors in state care; exclusion zones around abortion clinics; harm minimisation reforms in drug law, including a medically supervised injecting room saving countless lives; spent convictions reform; pandemic-specific legislation to force the government to tell us its reasoning behind health measures.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: The agenda includes further drug law reform to reduce harm; increase mental health care; tax profitable religious charities; prevent publicly funded hospitals and hospices from refusing to provide abortions, family planning and assisted dying; robust action on global warming; a new hospital for Melbourne’s north; formal inclusion of childcare in the education system; religious equality in Parliament, including respect for the non-religious.