Letter: Move risky for service

Jacqui Boydell, WA Nationals deputy leaderPilbara News
Andrea Mitchell and Brendon Grylls in 2016 at the site of the future mental health step-up/step-down facility in Karratha.
Camera IconAndrea Mitchell and Brendon Grylls in 2016 at the site of the future mental health step-up/step-down facility in Karratha. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr

I write to outline my support for the Karratha step-up, step-down mental health facility to be developed at the current site flagged for development.

The $9.7 million six-bed step-up, step-down mental health service was announced by the previous Government after it was approved by Cabinet in 2016.

It would be funded by Royalties for Regions and was initiated in partnership with the local government and developed on the basis of a sound business case.

While its opening date was flagged for 2018, it is now unclear when, and if, the project will be delivered.

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While I note community concerns about its proximity to the local RSL club and school, I must emphasise that if the project doesn’t proceed at the current site its future is not assured.

In light of the Labor Government’s review of all Royalties for Regions projects and plans to slash a large portion of regional development expenditure, it is a concern that this project could be at risk if the site is relocated because any move would require a new business case and Cabinet approval.

The step-up, step-down facility will provide short-term residential support for people after hospitalisation for mental illness or those at risk of deteriorating mental health and possible hospitalisation.

Given the facility will mean those battling mental illness won’t have to travel to Perth for treatment, and that they will be supported through their transition in their own community, there is a lot at stake. If the Labor Government’s record in regional investment is anything to go by, this project could be on the chopping block. The big question is — will local Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel fight for the future of the funding or will he sit back and toe the party line?

Jacqui Boydell

WA Nationals deputy leader

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