Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth has hit back at Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle’s comments claiming the KAP ‘went missing’ for regional Queenslanders.
Mr McArdle’s comments followed the passing of a Government bill allowing the Health Minister to appoint replacements for local hospital boards.
“It was incredibly disappointing that KAP members, who often claim to be local champions, didn’t bother to be present for the vote,” Mr McArdle said.
“Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth missed a prime opportunity to support local decision making and stop the Palaszczuk Government from doing what Labor does best – undermine our health system.”
Mr Knuth has fired back at Mr McArdle calling the whole thing a ‘non-event’ and an LNP witch against the KAP.
“The LNP will continue to go and try and catch the KAP out, they’re spending time and resources, but we’re more focussed on delivering for our regions,” Mr Knuth said.
He says the LNP didn’t attempt to get in contact with himself or Mr Katter regarding the bill.
“Obviously if they were so concerned about the vote regarding the appointment of people on hospital boards, they weren’t there to approach us or lobby us, they (the Government) have supported the bill and we see it as a non-event,” he said.
“If they’re passionate about issues then let them come and talk to us, if they want us to support them they need to brief us over it.
“We’ve got hundreds of amendments going through, hundreds of bills going through the house every year and to try and get out head around every little amendment and every little clause Is virtually impossible.”
Mr McArdle said the new amendment allows Health Minister Cameron Dick to make “captain’s picks” with no clause saying a local must be chosen.
“Surely they know that the best thing for the Cairns & Hinterland, Mount Isa and Townsville Hospital and Health Service boards is having locals in control and free from interference from Brisbane,” Mr McArdle said.
Despite not being present for the vote Mr Knuth said, on the information he’s received since, he would’ve most likely supported the bill anyway.
“What I’ve been advised regarding the amendment is that if a board member leaves or resigns then the minister can appoint someone until in the next six months they find a suitable candidate,” he said.
“When it comes to serious health issues you need to get someone there straight away, you can’t wait six months otherwise the whole operation can be let down.”
Mr Knuth said the LNP need to focus on their own party rather than the attendance of the KAP.
“What’s important to the LNP is trying to catch the KAP out,” he said.
“If they’re not going to talk to us and brief us and they try to catch us out then it’s very unlikely we’ll give them support.
“They need to focus on the real issues and work with us, this isn’t a real issue, where were they when we said to the Premier we’re prepared to block the budget if you don’t support rural and regional Queensland?”