Hospital work fund setback ‘faith breach’
The Labor Party says redevelopment of the Geraldton Hospital will still go ahead, despite concerns over funding not being allocated in the State Budget.
According to the Budget, planning for the redevelopment of the hospital has started and will include an upgrade of the emergency department, a mental health observation area, 12 new acute mental health beds and eight subacute beds.
Labor member for the Agricultural Region Darren West said planning had to be completed before funding could be allocated.
“The hospital is an election commitment we will honour — Geraldton has waited long enough,” he said.
“It’s not a line item in this year’s Budget because it’s unlikely there’ll be any work started this year.
“We’ve started preliminary works for that project and we want to get that scoping and planning right.” Mr West said the plan would also include the co-location of the St John of God Hospital on the Geraldton Regional Hospital site.
But Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney said he was “profoundly disappointed” the Government had not committed funding in the Budget.
“This is a gross breach of faith,” the Liberal member said.
“The Labor Party made an election promise to the people of Geraldton that they would provide $45 million to begin the staged upgrade to Geraldton Hospital this year.
“Sadly, no money has been allocated.”
Mr West said the Government expected the planning work to be completed by the next State Budget, expected in May.
“Unless something comes way out of left field, there will be a dedicated line item for the hospital in the next Budget,” he said.
“There’s an allocation for $80 million for infrastructure in Geraldton, which includes the allocation for the hospital.”