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Call to release Hospital construction timeline

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, has called on the Liberal-National Health Minister to outline when construction will start on Bendigo's New Hospital.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday (Hansard attached below) Ms Allan said that concerns had been raised in the Bendigo community that the Bendigo's New Hospital was going to be delayed.

"To put to rest these concerns, I asked the Minister in Parliament to release the construction timelines, including the date when construction will commence."

"It is vital that Bendigo's New Hospital is not delayed. The Liberal-National Government has said that they would stick to Labor's completion date of 2016."

"However for the community to have confidence that this deadline will be met, the exact date when construction will commence must also be released to the community."

"There are already media reports that a lack of funding from the Government is going to affect a number of major hospital works that includes Bendigo."

"A lack of funds will mean a delay to the start of building works on the new Hospital.

"The Liberal-National Government must tell the Bendigo community exactly when construction will start," Ms Allan said.

Bendigo hospital: construction


Ms ALLAN (Bendigo East) - The matter I raise this evening in the adjournment debate is for the Minister for Health, and is in regard to Bendigo's new hospital. I request that the minister, as a matter of great urgency, detail to the people of Bendigo and central and northern Victoria - because the Bendigo hospital services a great number of people up to places like Swan Hill, Echuca and beyond - the date that construction will commence on Bendigo's new hospital.

The reason I raise this as a matter of urgency for the Minister for Health is that there is grave concern around Bendigo that the government is walking away from delivering on Bendigo's new hospital. Those with memories will recall that it was the previous Labor government that put Bendigo's hospital on the agenda. We committed to the vital planning funds in the 2006 state election - a proposal that was opposed by the then Liberal Nationals opposition.

As a result of that planning work we funded the first stage in the 2009 budget with $55 million, and then in May 2010 we had that wonderful announcement of funds from the government that in total makes the Bendigo new hospital project a $528 million project. This was repeatedly opposed by the Liberal Nationals opposition, and it was only at the last minute, at the 11th hour, on the eve of the state election, that the then opposition finally came forward with a commitment to build Bendigo's new hospital. The government is going to build it with a few tweaks, but in essence it is going to build the hospital that Labor put on the agenda.

It is vital that these tweaks and changes proposed by the government do not delay this vital project. The Minister for Health has already committed to Labor's deadline for the completion of the hospital, which was 2016. I am very pleased that the Minister for Health has confirmed that the government will meet that deadline. This will give the Bendigo community confidence that its new hospital will be completed by that deadline and put to rest concerns I have been hearing. In the past few weeks many people have raised with me their concerns that the hospital has been pushed off the agenda and that there are going to be delays. I ask the government to detail to the community the exact construction time line so we can see work starting, earth being moved and buildings being constructed and so we can meet that 2016 deadline. We need to get that construction time line from the government.

I mention this because I have heard concerns that there are simply not enough funds for this project. A recent Herald Sun article outlined that there is $1 billion in the health infrastructure fund and that Bendigo, Monash and Box Hill hospitals are all competing for funds from this very small pool of money. I want to make sure that Bendigo does not get forgotten.

 

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