Yaralla Place future in limbo as LNP hints at sell off
THE Newman government is prepared to lobby the local health board to sell off a state-run nursing home in Maryborough.
Yaralla Place is a 96 bed facility and one of eight state-run homes the Bligh government considered selling in 2009.
Now, in a bold political bluff, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has indicated he is prepared to resurrect the sale of Yaralla if he gets Labor support to do so.
The gambit is seen as an attempt to defuse attacks by Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan.
Mr Swan is critical of a health board decision to close two units at the state-run Eventide Aged Care Home in Brisbane.
Eventide is in Mr Swan's Brisbane electorate and the treasurer has helped organise several protests against the closure.
A protest march against the pruning of Eventide is expected to be held in Brisbane today.
Mr Springborg said yesterday if he had Mr Swan's support he was prepared to lobby Wide Bay Health and Hospital Board, among other boards, to sell Yaralla Place in line with what he called past Labor policy.
"This sub-standard state-run accommodation is a Labor product," Mr Springborg said.
"To satisfy Mr Swan and a phalanx of Labor candidates, I am ready to adopt the Labor solution."
"The Deputy Opposition Leader, Tim Mulherin, was in the Bligh Labor Cabinet when it designed this policy and can brief Mr Swan prior to its implementation."
Other facilities Mr Springborg said he would consider selling off if there was bipartisan support included care homes in Townsville, Rockhampton, Zillmere Wynnum and Charters Towers.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin said yesterday that Mr Springborg was preparing to slash state-run beds for the aged.
"Just weeks before Christmas Mr Springborg has thrown the lives of many elderly and frail, aged Queenslanders and their families into turmoil by announcing the sale of these facilities," Mr Mulherin said.
"To add insult to injury Mr Springborg made the announcement in a bizarre press release blaming the decision on everyone except himself.
"The simple fact is Mr Springborg is transferring these eight facilities from state care into the private sector, the buck stops with him and he should take responsibility for his callous decisions."
Springborg v Swan
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg challenged Federal MP Wayne Swan to choose between a Labor policy from three years ago or support any decisions on state-run nursing homes made by the local hospital boards.
The three-year-old policy would see up to eight homes, including Maryborough's Yaralla Place, sold to private enterprise.