Hospi­tal work fund set­back ‘faith breach’

Geraldton Guardian - - News - Francesca Mann

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.”

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