Federal MPs slam O'Farrell's sham decision on our Local Health District

Two Federal Members of Parliament today condemned the O'Farrell Government’s removal of a Blacktown community leader from the Board of the Western Sydney Local Health District – describing it as "stunningly insulting".

Blacktown City Council Deputy Mayor, Kathie Collins, was appointed to the Local Health District following a public application process – but that decision has now been reversed by the O’Farrell Government.

Greenway MP Michelle Rowland and Chifley MP Ed Husic said the move to dump Cr Collins from the local health district was a slap in the face for Blacktown and Mt Druitt.

"Blacktown Council is the largest local government area in NSW – and Barry O’Farrell’s removal of our Deputy Mayor from a board that will make decisions that influence the quality of our healthcare is stunningly insulting for our area," said Ms Rowland.

"The whole point of Local Health District Boards is to ensure local voices are heard in the delivery of health services. Having served with Cr Collins on Blacktown City Council I know she always has the needs of locals at heart.

"The axing flies in the face of why the Federal Government set up these Boards in the first place – to make sure we have a mix of medical and community input into the running of our region’s hospitals.

"Now the O'Farrell Government has decided to play politics with these Boards. It’s an unfortunate sign that our healthcare decisions will be made politically instead of medically."

Mr Husic said he was staggered by the move to dump Cr Kathie Collins.

"This just does not make sense," Mr Husic said.

"If you wanted to make sure you could get a community voice on the Western Sydney Local Health Network, Kathie Collins is the perfect representative.

"Kathie is a terrific citizen within our community – she’s raised her family here, she’s Blacktown City’s Deputy Mayor, she represents Council on the Western Sydney Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and she was even recognised with an Order of Australia Medal honouring her community work.

"By sacking Cr Collins, Barry O’Farrell is sending a clear message to local health Boards across NSW: play ball or we will get rid of you without notice.

"The O'Farrell Government is trying to bully Board members into bowing to their political interests, as opposed to representing their local communities. It’s just not on."

Both MPs are determined to pursue the matter and will be meeting with the Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon to review the legality of the O’Farrell Government's move.

* Joint media release with Michelle Rowland MP, Federal Member for Greenway

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley

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