Calls to nationalise WA ambulance services are a bad solution in search of a problem

CCIWA Chief Economist

Aaron Morey

Union calls to drag WA’s ambulance services into the public bureaucracy are misguided and counterproductive.

Western Australia’s health and ambulance ramping challenges do not arise with St John WA.

WA’s ambulance service is one of Australia’s only privately-run providers. Not coincidently, it is the most high-performing service in terms of responsiveness, transparency, and low cost to the taxpayer. St John WA is the only ambulance service in Australia to publicly report key performance indicators online in real time, while public interest data like ambulance ramping statistics are kept confidential by state-run services.

Cancelling an efficient private service and putting it into the government bureaucracy would harm Western Australia’s reputation as a place to do business.

WA can ill afford such reputational damage at a time when it is trying to attract more business investment and enterprise to help diversify our economy.

It would punish a high-performing, transparent, effective organisation for weaknesses elsewhere in the system. Private sector discipline will be also be important to contain ballooning health budget costs, which will be the biggest drag on the State’s financial security in coming years.

These are retrograde efforts to sabotage an iconic and reputable organisation in St John WA.

WA’s ambulance service should remain in the hands of this proven, efficient and reputable organization.

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