I fondly remember my childhood summers down the West Coast.
We'd go fishing, camping, BMX riding and enjoy everything it had to offer.
Maybe I was just too young to notice, but I don't think things were ever as bad as they are now.
I travelled down the West Coast last week, and one of the main things I heard from people was about issues with healthcare.
For example, the COVID-19 vaccine was supposed to be rolled out last week.
An elderly couple were surprised when they were called the day before they were supposed to get the jab, and were told it wasn't going to happen.
It didn't happen because health professionals couldn't access a medical bed and an oxygen tank.
They'd asked for assistance from the state health system to help provide these things.
No help was given.
I hear they've got what they need for the rollout to happen now, but it was like pulling teeth to get there.
That's just the beginning of what I heard.
I was told it's normal to wait for over a week to get an appointment with a GP on the West Coast.
The national waiting time for a GP appointment is less than 24 hours.
All this without even thinking about the new mountain biking tracks in Queenstown and Zeehan set to open later this year.
I'm excited to see these tracks open and hopefully bring more tourists to discover the beauty of the West Coast.
But if someone falls and breaks their arm, or worse, cracks their head open, there's only three doctors and less than five paramedics on the entire West Coast to deal with it.
If they need an ambulance it could take hours to get there, compared to the average statewide waiting time of 13 minutes.
Not to mention that it could leave the community vulnerable if their doctor is away attending to a bike injury and there are no other health professionals in the area.
Access to basic healthcare is a human right.
We're not a third world country, and we shouldn't be treating part of our state like it is one.
So to all North-West political representatives and wannabes out there I say this: get down the West Coast, spend time with the people, listen to them and then actually do something about it.
Time and time again the West Coast is left off the map.
It's time to change that.
- Jacqui Lambie, Tasmanian Jacqui Lambie Network senator