Another war of words over a new Barossa hospital
Neighbouring local members from the Liberal and Labor parties have taken swipes at each other over the latest alleged delay in delivering a new Barossa hospital, with the community no closer to knowing when and where a hospital will be built.
Labor member for Light and one-time aspirant for the neighbouring seat of Schubert, Tony Piccolo, has seized upon an online report he claims shows the Marshall Liberal government is slow in progressing a new Barossa Hospital.
Retiring Liberal member for Schubert covering most of the Barossa Valley, Stephan Knoll, hit back on social media on Wednesday night, saying Mr Piccolo 'doesn't give a stuff about the Barossa'.
On the FlowFM Morning Show, host Rikki Lambert reviewed the competing claims about the Hospital. You can listen to the segment on the FlowNews24 podcast player below, and keep scrolling to read more of the article.
Mr Knoll will retire at the next election, to be replaced as Liberal candidate for the safe seat of Schubert by Marshall government media advisor and Barossa local, Ashton Hurn.
The Member for neighbouring Light pointed to an Infrastructure SA report that says: “Preliminary planning has determined site requirements and an outline business case has been prepared ,,, and Infrastructure SA recommends development of a full business case to identify the preferred solution.”
Mr Piccolo was quick to pounce on what he perceived to be evidence of delay:
“The only reasonable conclusion from the report is that work on a full business case has yet to be started or considered by Infrastructure SA.”
“This is a critical factor, as the Marshall Liberal Government has repeatedly stated that they would only fund projects according to Infrastructure SA assessment and priority.”
Labor Shadow Health Minister Chris Picton said the Infrastructure SA document said the Marshall government had not started with a 'proper' business case, only an 'outline' business case:
“Why didn't Health Minister Stephen Wade do it properly the first time?” Why did he only do an outline business case when he gave the community the impression a proper business case was happening?”
“How long will a "full" business case now take? What will be the additional cost and delay? The Marshall Liberal Government must now end the secrecy on what they have produced so far and reveal the true cost and timing of the business case.”
Member for Schubert Mr Stephan Knoll told the local Leader newspaper in September 2020 that delivering the business case was an election commitment for the Marshall Liberal Government, saying at the time:
“We promised at the last election to undertake a comprehensive business case and I am proud that it is currently being delivered. This will be the last of my election commitments for Schubert."
Mr Knoll was quoted in the lead article in Wednesdays' Leader headlined "Hospital plan exposed", but took to social media to express his frustrations about the story:
"Today’s Leader newspaper ‘story’ about the Barossa Hospital is very disappointing. It is extremely partisan and misrepresents where we are at in the process, as well as omitting the decades of deliberation, procrastination and non-commitment by the Labor Party which has delayed this crucial project.
"Labor and Tony Piccolo haven’t given a stuff about the Barossa until Piccolo’s failed bid to run for Schubert. They sat on several business cases for years, never moving forward and always ignoring the needs of our region.
"This is mere politicking and a slap in the face for Barossans who have patiently waited for a Liberal Government to get on with the job of delivering this important, and well overdue, project."