Rising power costs hit hospitals
The state government has refused to commit to providing extra funding to country hospitals facing skyrocketing power bills.
In Parliament last Wednesday, Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio would not guarantee additional energy costs at country hospitals would be covered.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh condemned the Minister for abandoning country hospitals.
‘‘Regional hospitals deliver a vital service to our country communities, but the Andrews Labor Government has turned its back on us,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘Daniel Andrews was wrong when he said power bills would only go up about four per cent after he let Hazelwood close without a back-up plan to replace the lost power supply.
‘‘Rising energy bills add more strain to country hos- pital budgets that are already stretched thin and it is up to Daniel Andrews to increase funding and make sure regional health services aren’t cut as a result.’’
In her question to the Minister, Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said Wimmera Health Care Group in Horsham expected power bills to rise by more than $500 000 this financial year.
‘‘Country hospitals in western Victoria have told me they expect power bills to go up about 80 per cent, about $2 million more than previous years,’’ Ms Kealy said.
‘‘Regional hospitals can’t rely on hospital auxiliary cake stalls to help cover soaring energy costs.
‘‘The Andrews Labor Government must urgently commit to funding the significant increase in energy costs in full.’’
Hit hard: Regional hospitals are facing rising power bills.