Hames could’ve done more to resolve Healthway board issues

February 27th, 2015 by: Kwinana Electorale Office

The tension and controversy surrounding the Healthway board could’ve – and should’ve – been addressed by Health Minister Kim Hames long before it became a crisis.

As noted in the West Australian recently, I questioned Hames’ lack of action in addressing the issues facing Healthway’s board.

While Hames acknowledged the board “has been riven by tensions between sporting groups and the public health lobby for as long as he has been a minister”, he has done nothing to resolve these festering problems.

A report in April 2011 called for changes to the Healthway Board and there was upheaval following the resignation of a Board member that same year; the Minister ignored the problems.

With the Government only drafting new legislation to change the make-up of Healthway’s board now, he is too late to save an organisation that has put WA at the forefront of smoking prevention and health promotion.

Kim Hames has previously said that the reformed entity of Healthway will have the same independence from government interference as the current organisation.

Last week in Parliament and in the media Hames said, “the independence we want is that we don’t get political interference from me or a future minister. I’m keen to do that and clearly I won’t be there forever. And I don’t think it’s appropriate for future ministers to be interfering.”

Yet this week in Parliament he explicitly refused to commit to an independent health promotion body. Kim Hames has turned his back on the health promotion by reversing his stance on the independence of Healthway or its reformed entity.

It is clear the Minister has been overruled by the Premier who has already said the reformed body would come under “strict Government control”.

It is clear that the Minister has turned his back on the health promotion sector and has instead joined the move by the Premier to get his hands on the health promotion cash.

This is a direct interference in good and impartial health promotion and is a low point for public health in Western Australia.

The AMA nominee on the board of Healthway is blocking the Barnett Government from completely taking over Healthway.

The AMA stated that it refuses to withdraw their nominee until the Barnett Government guarantees the independence of health promotion in Western Australia.

This stand-off is bad for health promotion and is also hurting WA sporting and arts organisations.

Until the situation is resolved no organisation can receive the funding they need.

Once again Colin Barnett’s arrogant and bullying attitude has caused chaos and dysfunction and Kim Hames has joined him in turning his back on the public health sector.


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