Jul 2017

Mareeba's $2m health windfall a credit to community

Tweet about this post

6 July 2017: KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has credited community members fighting for the survival of Mareeba Hospital for securing a $2 million Federal funding windfall for primary health services.

Mr Katter yesterday received confirmation that the additional funding had been approved by the Federal Health Minister, for the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (PHN) to support delivery of primary care services at Mareeba, including:
• $1 million over two years (2017-18 and 2018-19) to address gaps in after-hours services; and
• $1 million in 2017-18 to support a Primary Healthcare Development Program focused on reducing hospitalisations and strengthening local general practice.

“I want to personally thank – and the community owes a huge debt of gratitude to – Ross Cardillo, Denis McKinley and the 1000 people who turned up for the Save the Mareeba Hospital meeting and spoke up with aggression (Barry Simpson was one of many). I must also single out Robyn Greenfield, who has been advising me personally in this matter, and Dr Grant Manypeney – their specialist knowledge and assistance has been invaluable. I also want to put on public record my thanks to Minister Greg Hunt for meeting with me almost straight away and actioning the problem within the week,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter said he would discuss further with the PHN – headed by Rod Catton and Trent Twomey, “both excellent people, in charge of this money” – whether the extra funding would “achieve the purpose of being able to provide outpatients medical services under Bulk Billing-type arrangements”.

“Because if it can’t, then we’ve lost our free hospital system – and it will be the first time in 120 years that Mareeba has gone without a free hospital system,” said Mr Katter.

Mr Katter said Mareeba – which had a strong history of fighting issues of national significance, such as the Rural Action Council’s Johnny Gambino, Makse Srhoj, Scotty Dixon, Bernie O’Shea and Joe Moro securing the Federal farm assistance welfare grants for over 11,000 Australian families – “has once again had to take the leadership in the battle to preserve our free hospital system in Australia”.

“It seems very unfair to me that Mareeba has to constantly take national leadership in this area. But then again, it was the Mareeba area under local MP ‘Red’ Ted Theodore that introduced the free hospital system – the first in the world,” Mr Katter said.

But he warned the community against any complacency. “I don’t want anyone to think this battle is over – if the Qld Government wants warfare, they’ll get it. Our guns are primed and we’re ready for combat.”

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au