Group wants to be heard
Where’s The Funding community campaign organisers have welcomed a meeting with Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing, after their scheduled meeting last Friday was cancelled.
The community lobby group is still desperately hoping to attract funding for a new West Gippsland Hospital in next month’s state budget.
When Friday’s meeting was cancelled, they were told they would not be able to meet with Ms Shing in the next three weeks.
After declaring their disappointment on the group’s community Facebook page, and significant community backlash, Ms Shing’s office contacted the group yesterday morning to arrange a meeting for Friday.
WTF campaign member Kerry Elliott said they were disappointed when last Friday’s meeting with Ms Shing was cancelled because of illness but welcomed the opening in her diary for this week.
“We have to respect that Harriet may have been unwell but what disappoints us, is that we were told there was no opportunity to reschedule with Harriet in the near future.
“She won’t see us for weeks and certainly not until well after the May state budget,” the group said on its Facebook page.
Mrs Elliott said she was disgusted the state government could commit millions of dollars to the AFL without looking at the health needs of the local community.
Hundreds of letters signed by community members have been sent to Health Minister Jill Hennessy, as well as a box of newspaper articles, the group’s red t-shirt and a letter requesting a meeting.
Mrs Elliott said the committee had received no response from either Ms Hennessy or premier Daniel Andrews.
The Gazette also has lodged several questions, repeatedly with the minister’s office seeking answers about the business case for the West Gippsland Hospital.
The main question asked by The Gazette has been, when will the community have an answer on the business case recommendations? The Gazette also has had no response. “We just want to meet our elected representatives and speak on behalf of our community,” Mrs Elliott said.
The group wants Ms Shing and the minister to listen and acknowledge the significant community concern and priority need for a new hospital.
Mrs Elliott said they also wanted the government to acknowledge the planning work is completed and business cases submitted to the government for funding consideration.
“We want them to recognise that throwing away money to try and patch up an 80-year-old building that is unfixable and no longer fits the purpose is sheer lunacy.
“In the meantime the people keep pouring in and our beautiful old hospital is not coping. Our region is one of the fastest growing areas in the state and infrastructure to accommodate the influx is seriously deficient,” she said.
Ms Shing told The Gazette she has continued to advocate for hospital funding for a new Warragul hospital as well as the additional funding for West Gippsland Health Services; and other hospitals and health services throughout Gippsland.
“I was very disappointed that the Prime Minister did not take the time to visit the hospital or to hear from the community about the importance of not cutting hospital funding and committing federal resources to a new hospital when he was in Gippsland earlier this week for announcements about coal technology,” she said.
Where’s the Funding lobby group members Kerry Elliott and Rob Sinnett outside Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing’s office on Friday after a meeting with her staff, that has now lead to a rescheduled meeting this week.