For more than a decade, the West Gippsland community has been fighting for a new hospital and now Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has again said he will deliver it if elected.
- The fight for a new hospital in West Gippsland started more than 10 years ago
- The current facility was constructed in 1939 and has been added to over the years
- Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy is promising $400 million and construction in his first term if his party is elected
On a visit to the site set aside for a new hospital, Mr Guy promised $400 million in state government funds for the 200-bed facility and said construction would begin in the first term.
Health Minister Martin Foley’s office did not answer specifically when asked if the government would also commit to funding a new West Gippsland hospital, but a spokesman labeled the opposition plan “half-baked” with “no costings, no time frame, and no details” .
Today’s funding promise comes after a similar promise was made ahead of the last state election in 2018.
“The state government’s had eight years to do this,” Mr Guy said.
“We’ve known about this for a long time — the land has been purchased since 2006 — it’s time to get on with it.
“I committed to building this facility at the last election in 2018 for a reason — it was needed then.
“It’s now four years later, the Andrews government has done nothing. It’s never been more important to build this health facility.”
Mr Guy was joined by his party’s candidate for the local seat of Narracan, Wayne Farnham, who said the need for a new facility was clear.
“There are 1,000 babies a year born there, we have about 1,000 people a year move to this region,” he said.
“Over five years, that’s another 10,000 people.
“If this gets delayed any longer, the health crisis here likely will be unbearable for everyone.”
Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy met with community advocates at the site set aside for a new hospital.(ABC Gippsland: Kerrin Thomas)
The hospital is one of several in the state currently under a code yellow, due to staffing shortages.
“These rolling code yellows show the extent and breadth of Victoria’s health crisis,” Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier said.
“This is just years of neglect, underinvestment and mismanagement by the Andrews government.”
The plans are contingent on a $200 million commitment from the federal government.
“I’ll put forward $400 million of a $600 million facility to make it happen,” Mr Guy said.
“That’s more than what a state government normally would do. Most state governments would do a 50-50 arrangement. We’re going to go beyond that.”
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and hospital board chairwoman Christine Holland (centre) at the new hospital site.(ABC Gippsland: Kerrin Thomas)
‘Essential’ for community
The chairwoman of the West Gippsland Health Board, Christine Holland, said a new hospital was a necessity with the current facilities not fit for purpose.
“A lot of work has gone on to try and refit the hospital as it is, but there’s really not much more that can be done,” she said.
The new facility would double the number of beds available for patients.
“We have not had a lot of government funding in this area under the present state government,” Ms Holland said.
But she was hopeful the Health Minister would also step up funding commitments for the hospital.
“I am speaking with Minister Foley in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll know more then about what the commitment is likely to be — I’m hoping it’ll be a positive conversation,” Ms Holland said.
“When the first sod is turned the community will be very excited with that, they’ve put up with a lot [and] … it means a lot to them.”
Local news direct to your inbox
ABC Gippsland will deliver a wrap of the week’s news, stories and photos every Tuesday. Sign up here
Posted 1h ago1 hours agoFri 3 Jun 2022 at 6:14am, updated 42m ago42 minutes agoFri 3 Jun 2022 at 7:19am