House of Assembly: Thursday, March 09, 2023


Adelaide Hills Ambulance Services

Mr FULBROOK (Playford) (14:19): My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Can the minister update the house on the Malinauskas Labor government's commitments to support residents of the Adelaide Hills needing emergency health care?

The SPEAKER: An excellent question.

The Hon. C.J. PICTON (Kaurna—Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:19): I thank the member for Playford and note his interest, as a former resident of Mount Barker. It probably goes without saying that I think you, sir, have the most interest in this house in the outcomes of services in the Mount Barker region. Therefore, sir, it was fantastic to join you on the weekend at Mount Barker to announce some very significant developments in terms of delivery of ambulance services for the Adelaide Hills.

As you know (and have been involved in petitioning for additional ambulance services in the Hills for a very long time), it has been, I believe, since 1992 that there has only been one ambulance 24/7 crew on the road in the Mount Barker region over that time, and yet we have seen the population of Mount Barker go up and up and up since that time. Very clearly, we listened to the community, listened to the calls from the local member of parliament, as opposed to the previous government—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order! I am listening closely to the answer.

The Hon. C.J. PICTON: The member for Dunstan, who was leading that (who, of course, isn't here again today, but I note his communications director is) didn't take action on this front. He ignored those calls from the community. We are now reversing that. I know you are delighted, sir, that we now have that additional 24/7 crew that's about to hit the road in the Adelaide Hills. That means that people in the Hills, that growing population, now have additional support from the SA Ambulance Service when and where they need it.

It was fantastic that we both met Harry and Maddie, who are some of our new paramedics who are joining the service. This was part of our commitment for 350 extra ambos across the state, 12 of whom are starting in that new Mount Barker crew. But of course, that's not all, because we also made the announcement of the new location of the new Mount Barker ambulance station. The ambulance station at the moment is far too small, far too constrained and doesn't have room to grow in the future. That's why we have selected the new site which, again, has been talked about for a number of years with no action taken.

This is the site where it's going to be located, near the Bald Hills interchange. There is very easy access to the freeway—excellent work done by the previous Treasurer and infrastructure minister to get that interchange up and running. To now have that new ambulance station there will give easy access for many locations across the Hills. We will be able to build that with capacity for the Ambulance Service to grow into the future, because we know that the population in Mount Barker is going to go up and up and up. To have the ability for us to be able to put additional crews as they are needed in Mount Barker is essential.

Work will be starting later this year on that site. We will have that open in 2025. You will be glad to know, sir, that there is an additional regional transport crew that will start next year in the Mount Barker region as well. This is a very substantial uplift in terms of the service offering for the Adelaide Hills but, of course, we need to make sure that we have the hospital capacity for that as well. This coincides with our very significant investment to triple the number of beds at the Mount Barker hospital to make sure that people are not only getting that emergency response when they need it but also can get the hospital care as an important follow-up. All of this is important for your constituents, sir, the broader Adelaide Hills, to be able to get the services when and where they need them.