LNP’S $20M KICKSTART
Pledge on Cairns University Hospital site and for business case
CAIRNS University Hospital is on course for its 2025 goal with LNP Leader Deb Frecklington set to announce a $20m commitment to get the project rolling. The decision means both major parties are on board, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk already pledging $16.5m.
THE Cairns University Hospital project has taken a big step on its journey with both major parties promising to deliver the goods if they win the upcoming state election.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington on Monday will announce a $20m infusion to kickstart the Cairns University Hospital project.
The investment includes $15m to acquire the site and $5m for a business case for the hospital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already committed $15m to buy the land plus $1.5m for the business case.
The Cairns Hospital and Hinterland Health Service has outlined a $165m-plus plan to bring the facility up to a tertiary status, but the clock is ticking. For the university hospital to be operational by the target date of 2025, progress needs to be made now.
The federal government has had $60m on the table, waiting for the state government, since Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Cairns two years ago.
The LNP has also announced it will commit $26m to expanding the existing Cairns Hospital emergency department and reduce the hospital waiting list to zero.
There are now more than 3300 people on the Far North’s surgery waiting list.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington (above) said waiting times had risen 146 per cent under Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“An LNP government will take immediate action to fix the Far North’s health system and we’ll also invest in the next-generation hospital that Cairns deserves,” she said.
“Cairns should have a world-class health system and that’s what the LNP will provide.”
Neither party has committed the full $165m funding necessary for construction.
Labor has pledged $26.4m to expand the Cairns Hospital emergency department.
It has also announced it will invest $11.5m to establish a youth drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Cairns.
Cairns candidate Sam Marino said Cairns had been left behind on healthcare.
“The university hospital will catapult our health services into a new era, with patients able to get advanced treatments right here in Cairns,” he said.
Barron River candidate Linda Cooper said the university hospital will create jobs and put more money into businesses across the region.
“Our region has waited too long for better health services, so this is great news for patients and our fantastic health staff,” she said.
The LNP has also said it will invest $2m to create a kidney transplant unit at Cairns Hospital.