Ris­ing power costs hit hos­pi­tals

Benalla Ensign - - News -

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.

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