The McGowan Labor Government has announced a massive $1.9 billion investment in health and mental health services throughout Western Australia, including a range of important initiatives in regional WA.
Regional communities will benefit from the considerable State-wide boost to address unprecedented demand in the system – delivering more beds, doctors, nurses and improved services in country WA.
In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars to boost the capacity of health services around the State, a number of additional regional-specific initiatives are being delivered, including commitments made at the 2021 election.
$19.7 million has been invested to expand the eligibility of the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme for patient support escorts for patients from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, as well as maternity patients.
$15.7 million will be spent over the forward estimates to begin construction of a new consolidated health service at the existing Meekatharra Hospital site, including acute care, emergency services, mental health, community aged care and other primary care services.
Other key health initiatives in the 2021-22 Budget include:
- $10.9 million provided to the Royal Flying Doctor Service to refurbish and replace aircraft engines;
- $1.8 million to employ a permanent GP to conduct cervical cancer screening and other women’s primary health services at the existing Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre;
- $2.2 million to establish a Women’s Community Health Service in the Peel region that offers health and support services and information for those experiencing mental illness, family, domestic and sexual violence or who have experienced sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse;
- $4.4 million to the WA Country Health Service to cover the shortfall in services at multipurpose sites, following the transition to the Commonwealth Home Support Program from the Home and Community Care program;
- $4.2 million to fund the operating costs of the adult public dental clinic at Narrogin Regional Hospital;
- $2.8 million to expand Women’s Community Health Services in the Kimberley, which includes mental illness, family, domestic and sexual violence;
- $2 million for the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) to continue Regional Renal Support Teams;
- $2 million to undertake detailed planning and scoping of works for Stage Two of the redevelopment of the Geraldton Health Campus (GHC);
- $785,000 for a 12-month Women and Newborn Health Service pilot program delivered by Karratha’s Women’s Place Inc. to provide health and support services and information to women experiencing mental illness, domestic and sexual violence or who have experienced sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse.
Mental health services in regional WA will also be boosted in this budget with investments including:
- $17.6 million towards social and emotional wellbeing services for Aboriginal people in regional WA;
- $14.8 million for a South Hedland Step Up-Step Down facility to provide a community mental health service and short-term residential support;
- $8.6 million to fund regional Methamphetamine Action Plan initiatives, including expanding Community Alcohol and Other Drug services in the Peel region to build on the McGowan Government’s comprehensive $473 million Methamphetamine Action Plan;
- $9.2 million to extend the Strong Spirit Strong Mind public education program;
- $1.7 million for Active Recovery Teams in the Wheatbelt and Mid-West, supporting people in their recovery journey to stay well in the community following a hospital stay;
- $1.7 million to progress anti‑ligature works at regional Acute Psychiatric Units (APUs), located in Broome, Albany, Kalgoorlie and Bunbury;
- Extending the Mental Health/Police co-response program into regional areas.
Regional communities will also benefit from the $31.7 million invested to expand State-wide eating disorder treatment programs.
The McGowan Government continues to deliver significant new investments in regional health infrastructure including expansions and redevelopments at Bunbury Regional Hospital, Peel Health Campus, Geraldton Health Campus, Laverton Hospital, Tom Price Hospital, Newman Health Service and more.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“The $1.9 billion boost to health and mental health services will ensure all Western Australians can access improved healthcare, wherever they live.
“Regional WA’s health services are experiencing considerable pressure in line with the significant demand we are seeing – and the additional resources provided in the State Budget will work to improve services for everyone.
“Country WA will also benefit from a number of regional-specific initiatives and projects – including the boost to the PATS scheme, new hospitals and a range of measures to improve health outcomes throughout the State.”
Comments from Health Minister Roger Cook:
“The McGowan Government has demonstrated strong financial management over the past four and a half years and this strong leadership has allowed us to announce a $1.9 billion increase in spending in our health system across the State.
“Our comprehensive health and mental health package for regional WA will ensure all Western Australians, no matter where you live, will have access to quality healthcare.
“The new investments in this Budget build on a significant program of expansions for health and mental health in regional Western Australia.”
Comments from Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson:
“The McGowan Government is committed to responding to the mental health needs of all Western Australians.
“This includes improving supports and services in the regions for people experiencing mental ill-health or alcohol and other drug issues, as well as their families, carers and support people.
“The new mental health services funded in the budget will make modern, integrated care more accessible to people living in regional communities across the State.”