Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:10):
Today, I would like to speak about the future of the Repat. Many on this side of the house know that it is an issue I have been talking about for a long time. When I did a bit of a search, I found that I had mentioned the Repat about 35 times in the last two years in the house in questions and speeches. It is such an important asset to my community and the people of southern Adelaide and South Australia more broadly.
My community certainly knows that the former Labor premier Mike Rann said the Labor Party would never, ever sell the Repat. However, in the last term of government, when those opposite were in charge, they did want to sell the Repat, much to the disappointment, anger and hurt of my community. Closing the Repat was part of Labor's disastrous 2015 Transforming Health policy. They did not care about the community and they did not care about what the community wanted. They had their ideological agenda and they pursued it.
The people of South Australia were pretty outraged about it. Veterans slept on the steps and tens of thousands of signatures were received in a petition presented to this house. One of the largest petitions ever presented to the house was from South Australians who did not support the closure of the Repat. The people of South Australia, at the 17 March election, knew that if they wanted the
Repat to stay open they had to vote for a change of government, and vote for a change of government they did. In my community, they knew that if they wanted to keep the Repat open, they had to vote for a new member for Waite who cared about the Repat, and they did that as well.
Last year, the Labor government went right up to the election negotiating with ACH Group to have the Repat site sold for about $20 million and turned into a mixed-use site. They pretty much explicitly ruled out providing SA Health services on the site. Just imagine: three years ago we had a hospital, with about 110 patients and 675 staff and 200 volunteers providing fantastic services to the people in the southern community, and then two years later being told by the then Labor government, 'Well, we don't need your services anymore. There is no role for you in southern health.' That was the attitude of the Labor Party, and it was absolutely disgraceful.
However, as I said, we have a commitment to renew the Repat. The new Marshall Liberal government has a commitment to ensuring that SA Health services are still provided on that Daw Park site to ensure that the people of my community, the member for Elder's community and the member for Davenport's community have the services they so need. On Thursday 17 May, the member for Elder, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing (Hon Stephen Wade in the other place) and the member for Boothby (Nicole Flynn MP) and I coordinated a community forum at the Colonel Light Gardens RSL.
Almost 200 people of all ages rolled up to this community forum, and there were representatives from the City of Mitcham as well, and they wanted to hear about our positive plan to renew the Repat. They wanted to know when we were reopening the hydrotherapy pool, such an important service for our community. The hydrotherapy pool reopened this week. In fact, this morning I got an email from a constituent in Glenalta that said, 'Thank you for reopening the hydrotherapy pool. My wife can now use the services again,' which is fantastic.
We want to see Ward 18 used as an older persons mental health facility to provide extra accommodation, and we want to establish a new older persons mental health facility at the Repat site. We want the community to come along with us in an engagement process to let us know what other services they would like at the Daw Park site. I really do thank my community, people like Professor Warren Jones and the Save the Repat group, for working with this new government proactively in ensuring that we have the best mix of services at the Repat site going forward.
We understand the importance of having health assets that are used by the community. We want that core to remain, and we want the community to be involved. Over the coming weeks and months, there will be an opportunity for community consultation on this site because, together, we know that we can renew the Repat. Together, we know that by renewing the Repat we will be delivering on our electoral commitments. Together, we know that the Liberal Party will always be committed to the future of the Repat and the Daw Park site.