Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon has used a parliamentary speech to launch a full scale attack on the NSW Government’s acute hospital planning in the Hunter region.
Mr Fitzgibbon told the House of Representatives that seven years after the NSW Government identified the need for a new hospital, not a sod of soil has been turned. The indecision and funding uncertainty he said, was deferring investment in existing hospitals.
But Mr Fitzgibbon saved his heaviest criticism for the decision to build a new but unfunded hospital in Metford.
“I have said it before, and I will say it again: over my dead body will the State Government downgrade or close any existing hospitals in the Cessnock LGA to build a new hospital on the eastern side of Maitland. In any case, it is the wrong site for many reasons, including traffic problems and parking problems”, Mr Fitzgibbon told the Parliament.
“The story grows worse: in the State Budget just this week, the New South Wales Government allocated just $5 million to the project—$5 million for a new hospital! So, seven years after identifying the need for a new hospital, Area Health has not turned a sod of dirt, there is no money in the budget and, just as bad, if not worse, investment in existing hospitals is being deferred, obviously because there is a new hospital proposal. It is a disgrace; it is a slap in the face for the people I represent in the area and the New South Wales Government has to fix the problem.” Mr Fitzgibbon said.