The Liberals’ election pledge for emergency healthcare in Mt Barker shows the region’s urgent need for appropriate infrastructure is being taken seriously by both sides of politics.
For years residents have lobbied for better health services to meet the growing demands of a rapidly expanding population.
Now, following the State Government’s commitment to a three-month trial of an overnight doctor at the hospital, the Opposition has upped the ante.
It guarantees that service would continue under a Liberal government and has also committed to reinstating a local health board to decide how healthcare is run in the region.
The policy also includes a 10-year health plan for the Hills and investigations into increasing paediatric healthcare services and stepping up emergency care, possibly to a full-scale emergency department.
The pressure is now on the State Government to match those commitments.
But both sides must also recognise that improved healthcare is just one item on an extensive community wishlist for improved infrastructure and services to cater for the region’s growth.
Many people in the community will feel let down and angry at the decision by the Adelaide Hills Council to abolish its ward-based representation system.
The council not only failed to put up a credible argument that the previous system was broken and desperately needed changing, but it also delivered the community a slap in the face by ignoring the overwhelming rejection of the proposal.
Of the more than 400 residents who responded to the council, more than 90% were against the change.
And to add salt to the wound, the council insisted the decision be made on a date when it knew two of the pro-ward councillors would be away on leave.
The divide within the council on the matter meant the casting vote of the Mayor was required at every stage except for the final decision when the absent councillors meant the argument for keeping wards failed.
Leadership can mean not being swayed by the loudest voices, but when a government ignores so many of its constituents while offering only a meek argument for change, it weakens its value in the community.