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Your views: on Budget, public service and more

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on a pre-election spend, public servants, subdivision, property value and rates.

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Commenting on the story: Budget 2021: The key measures

The budget is admirable in some respects, additional funding for health facilities for example, but very short-sighted in other respects.

This state continues to provide sufficient funding to keep people employed, especially on infrastructure projects. The big problem I see is the propensity to clog up the major arterial road system with concurrent projects. I can think of Magill/Portrush Roads, Cross/Fullarton Roads, South Road, Marion Rd/ Sir Donald Bradman Drive, the Heysen Tunnels.

 There may be more than this, but this list will keep the roads around Adelaide and into the Hills crammed with cars for the next several years. No consideration has been given to Hills residents for example, who have been inconvenienced for more than a year now, and will now face another two years of congestion because of the tunnel work. Let’s not call it a freeway any longer, how about a work-way to keep people employed.

If the Liberals had actually stepped up and continued with the MATS Plan decades ago, this level of infrastructure investment may well not have been needed. – Bob Sibson

Commenting on the story: Richardson: The archetypal Liberal hands down a very Labor budget

I sincerely hope this is not the “archetypal” of a Labor budget, because the last half dozen of Labors budgets were train wrecks.

How about giving the Liberals a bit of credit for guiding us through what could have been a disastrous (and would have been under Labor) two years with the COVID-19 threat constantly over our heads. That and the hand grenades Labor left, especially Transforming Health. – Fred Driver

Commenting on the story: ‘Lucky last’: Lucas’s low-key swansong sells hope – not the farm

With regard to the Government’s response with the Proposed Clinical Capacity Document at the new WCH, unfortunately this has been quite underwhelming with the problem of only one additional overnight stay bed for sick children with medical or surgical needs proving to be a major block at the ED level. The inevitable internal ramping that will occur will soon spill out through the front entrance of the hospital and the ambulances will be ramping again.

The proposed 23 hour stay paediatric surgical unit referred to by the Treasurer has been reduced from 36 beds to 24 beds, which of course will have even less impact on solving this problem.

The intensive care units (neonatal and paediatric) which have had an increase in beds (not the number advised by the responsible clinicians at consultation) will need to have appropriately trained staff (medical, surgical, ancillary) and this training can only occur if the present hospital is maintained with the required funding for adequate staffing, resources and contemporary equipment so that there will be a seamless transfer of trained staff and resources once the new hospital is available for occupation.

This argument can be equally applied to all clinical areas and clinical divisions at the current WCH where education and training have been deliberately neglected as a method of cost containment.

A number of senior hospital staff have quite wisely not signed off on the faulty “consultation process” they were subject to which saw them being coerced into making decisions in a vacuum without the courtesy or benefit of a structural plan or a plan of the proposed service distribution.

The Health Minister continually refers to the $600,000 paid to staff to participate in these inadequately designed planning groups but does not acknowledge the $3.5 million of the staff’s own time spent in these negotiations – valuable time taken away from caring for their patients.

The medical staff would be unwise to sign off on a “take it or leave it” tactic by SA Health until they are given a firm guarantee that the present hospital will continue to be given the required funding for staffing, resources and contemporary equipment. Not only to for the staff to receive the required training but also and more importantly to fix the current problems and deficiencies with the current service, which falls far short of an acceptable standard for the women and children of this state, and will now need to be adhered to until at least 2027.

There are a number of other deficiencies in the Proposed Clinical Capacity Document including gynaecological and obstetric services which will significantly impact on women attending the hospital, and there are no visible plans for outside supporting services to deal with these deficiencies.

Similarly, the opportunity to build a Covid-19 safe hospital is not being taken seriously despite informed medical advice.

The lack of a staffing, resources and equipment budget was a problem with the opening of the new RAH and there are no obvious details of these in the proposed Clinical Capacity Document – must we travel down this path again?

Respectfully there are two simultaneous actions required by the Government and SA Health. Firstly to fix the women’s and children’s health crisis that already exists at the current WCH and secondly, to re-examine and solve the multiple deficiencies in the proposed new WCH. Assoc Professor John Svigos

Commenting on the story: Treasurer offers payouts to leave public service

This must be the seventh renewal program in the last decade. The state public sector has been renewed that much it’s suffering from acne.

Let’s call this for what it is: a desire for fewer public servants, and for those who do remain, a desire for compliance with government policy.

Governments no longer wish to be advised and guided by professionals in their fields; governments now seek people who are all too eager to affirm the political policies of the sitting government. I believe they call them sychophants. – Paul McKinnon

Commenting on the story: New laws unlock billions in subdivision potential

While no doubt there will be great financial gains for some councils, and we do need more affordable housing, I wonder if the new legislation requires of our governments any planning for good urban design and green spaces.

Until recently, councils I worked with required a fee to be contributed to green space for every subdivided block. There was never any indication that this money was used by either the State Government or councils on more or enhanced green space in the areas where I subdivided property. Indeed there was a newspaper report that the recent planning legislative review (Michael Lennon) and work on the new planning arrangements was paid for by the “green fund.”

This matter of good urban design and open, green space is a critical issue and very serious for a city which is looking at temperatures of 50C in the near future.

So it will be interesting to hear how both State and local governments intend to plan and manage this windfall collectively to create a “green” urban future. Who will be the winners? – Gael Fraser

Adelaide’s subdivision boom has created limited private wealth at the expense of the public good. 

The infrastructure has not kept pace with development resulting in restricted traffic flow due to parking issues, resulting in many suburban Adelaide streets becoming one way by default.   

Gardens have all but disappeared, resulting in higher ground temperatures in summer and the threat of flooding from increased runoff when it rains. 

The much touted financial benefits are limited to the initial construction period but the long term increased infrastructure maintenance and repair from overburdened power, water and sewer systems will as usual be passed onto the taxpayer. 

The increased revenue from councils you can bet with great certainty will not result in lower rates but in fact quite the reverse from all available evidence. – Bill Hollingworth 

Now sit back and watch the councils ratchet up their rates by not adjusting the rate in the dollar, and blaming your rates increase on the Valuer-General’s increased assessments.

Tying council rates to property value is a disgrace. Value increases do not create more demand for services but simply increase council revenue, which all councils are supremely adept at spending. – Colin Gaetjens

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