Prime Minister Albanese’s announcement today has reaffirmed that Labor has once again broken a promise – this time, to deliver 50 ‘urgent’ care clinics within their first 12 months in government.
On the eve of the election, the Prime Minister’s own Finance Minister, Katy Gallagher promised that an elected Labor Government would have 50 urgent care clinics up and running across Australia “within the first year”.
This promise has been consistently reiterated on the floor of Parliament and during the last Budget Estimates, despite the Government being unable to confirm even the locations of the clinics.
Now, the Prime Minister has announced Expressions of Interest for only three of the 50 urgent care clinics.
With the EOI period set to end on 24 March 2023, only two months before it was promised they would have all the clinics ‘up and running’, it is clear that the Government will not even be able to deliver the first three urgent care clinics within the timeline promised to the Australian public.
The Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston said, “This is not only another disrespectful broken promise to the Australian people, but it also leaves our hard-working and under-pressure hospital and healthcare staff in an ongoing state of complete uncertainty.”
“First, the Labor Government broke their promise to reduce electricity bills by $275, and then they disregarded their commitment to fund the aged care pay rise in full. Now, they are deferring their signature election promise aimed at supporting state and territory health systems, at a time when we are seeing ramping at an all-time high, concerning levels of deferred elective surgeries, and a crisis in general practice.”
“The Labor Government continues to prove that it is all headline and no delivery. They were willing to make headline promises to get elected, and they are just as prepared to abandon those promises now that they are in government,” Senator Ruston said.
Australians deserve better from this Government. It is time for the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health to deliver on their promises to support Australia’s under-pressure health system and implement tangible measures to support our healthcare professionals.