The Opposition has said the Cabinet reshuffle is an admission by the Premier that has come too late, that Roger Cook has failed as Minister for Health.
Opposition Leader Mia Davies said the health system was on its knees after five years of mismanagement, under-resourcing and investment by the Labor Government.
“The Premier and Mr Cook have ignored red flags like record ambulance ramping and escalating code yellows in our hospitals leaving us with a system in crisis and exhausted staff,” Ms Davies said.
“Now, just weeks before our borders re-open and COVID arriving in WA, we have a new Minister with only nine months experience in Cabinet – it’s a hospital handpass by the Premier and a risky move.”
Ms Davies said the new Minister only had a matter of weeks to get across an enormous and complex brief in a critically important portfolio.
Leader of the WA Liberals Dr David Honey said it was a sign of poor leadership by Premier McGowan and was too sneaky by half that he has now used the cover of Christmas to hide the demotion and moving on of Roger Cook.
“The poor track record of Amber-Jade Sanderson, formerly Minister for Environment and Climate Action, is very worrying given her new and much more challenging role,” Dr Honey said.
“Ms Sanderson has shown a complete lack of knowledge in her allocated portfolios – when asked in Parliament, she didn’t even know WA’s climate action targets or greenhouse gas emissions output.
“The cabinet reshuffle is proof the Premier is a captive of the Labor factions, making decisions based on the demands of factional bosses rather than the interests of Western Australia.”
Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the Premier dragged his feet on this announcement given the Opposition called for the Health Minister to resign in April, in the wake of the tragedy surrounding Aishwarya Ashwath at Perth Children’s Hospital.
“Despite an iron ore boom our hospital system is facing one of the worst crisis we have seen in WA history and that is at a time when we are meant to be battle ready for COVID,” Ms Mettam said.
“We went into the pandemic with a run-down health system, the lowest number of ICU beds in the country, and ambulance ramping at record levels, yet with no COVID crisis here, the health system is in an even worse state.
“I urge the new Health Minister to prioritise the needs of patients and health workers who have so far been let down by this government.”