South Australian Ministerial Reshuffle
The South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced the resignation of Lea Stevens the Minister for Health and the appointment of John Hill to the position on Friday 4 November 2005.
John Hill is currently the Minister for Environment and Conservation, Minister for the Southern Suburbs and Minister Assisting the Premier in the Arts and has been Acting Health Minister.
Mr Hill is a former State Secretary of the ALP in South Australia.
Ms Stevens was expected to return to her position on Monday 7 November 2005, after taking a short period of leave due to her continuing poor health.
She was unable to return at that time and has been granted extended leave.
Ms Stevens remains a member of the South Australian cabinet and on her return next month she will commence the role of Minister for Environment and Conservation.
Carmel Zollo, Minister Assisting in Mental Health takes on the new portfolios of Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Minister Assisting in Regional Health
Ms Zollo takes on these portfolios in addition to her responsibilities as Minister for Emergency Services and the Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry and Trade.
As in other states, the health portfolio has been subject to adverse media coverage and a focus of Opposition attention.
The next South Australian State election will be held on 18 March 2005.
The text of Premier Mike Rann’s news release on the issue, released Friday November 4 2005, is included below.
NEWS RELEASE: RANN ANNOUNCES NEW HEALTH TEAM
Premier Mike Rann has announced the appointment of John Hill as Health Minister following the decision to grant Lea Stevens extended leave due to continuing poor health.
“John Hill will take over the Health portfolio and continue the good work of Lea Stevens in building new facilities and delivering better health services across the state.
“It is difficult for a minister to continue under temporary arrangements in such a vital portfolio for an extended period and so I have taken the decision to ensure that health remains my government’s top priority.
“John Hill will build on our achievements in our hospital system and the health sector generally.
“John is an outstanding minister. He has achieved much for South Australia in the environment. As the first Minister for the River Murray, he and I succeeded in brokering an historic $500 million deal that will restore environmental flows to the Murray.
“He also played a major role in stopping the Federal Government’s proposed nuclear waste dump, championed the phasing out of plastic shopping bags and protected vast amounts of the state’s wilderness.
“Lea has been feeling unwell for some weeks and is suffering from a relatively recently diagnosed rheumatoidlike disease. A bout of gastroenteritis in the last few weeks has exacerbated her health problems.
“Her doctors have now insisted that she requires rest and ongoing treatment for her chronic illness. She will now take extended leave to aid her recovery,” the Premier said
She is expected to return to work next month to take on the role as Minister for Environment and
Conservation. John Hill will continue in this role until that time.
“I fully support the decision taken by the Premier. The difficulties over my health have necessitated these changes.” Ms Stevens said.
“I am confident John Hill will do an excellent job as Health Minister and I’m looking forward to getting back and tackling new challenges in the Environment portfolio.”
Strengthening the government’s commitment to critical health issues, new portfolios of Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Minister Assisting in Regional Health have been created.
“Carmel Zollo, currently Minister Assisting in Mental Health, will take on these expanded roles, while maintaining her other duties of Minister for Emergency Services and Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry and Trade,” the Premier said.
“Carmel has performed well since coming to Cabinet in March this year. She has overseen the creation of the South Australian Fire and Emergency Commission and has fostered working relationships with key interest groups in the area of mental health.
“She will be working closely with the chair of the Social Inclusion Board, Monsignor David Cappo, to transform mental health services in South Australia. “Parliamentary Secretary, Jennifer Rankine, will provide support for both Ministers and continue her work in the important areas of volunteers, children’s health and children’s services.
“This new team will bring additional energy to these important areas and ensure that we continue to build our world class health system.”
“I want to congratulate Lea Stevens on her outstanding contribution in health.
“When we came to office we found a health system on life support. Elective surgery had been declining for several years, budgets had been cut and accounts fudged, and lots of promises made but very little realised. In short, the Liberals and Dean Brown failed to deliver.
“Through the implementation of the Generational Health Review, we now have a high quality hospital system, we have more doctors and nurses in our hospitals, and we have increased the level of surgical activity year on year.”
Lea Stevens has asked that her privacy be respected as she continues her recovery.