Adjournment – Swan Hill Health Services
21 February 2019
Adjournment : My adjournment issue tonight is to the Minister for Health in the other place and it concerns the Swan Hill Needs a New Hospital campaign. I ask the minister to visit Swan Hill hospital so she can then be better informed to lobby harder to get a funding commitment from the Andrews Labor government in this year’s budget for the Swan Hill hospital. When she sees the site the minister will see that it is one of the top-priority hospitals in Victoria to need an upgrade in the future. That is what the Swan Hill Needs a New Hospital committee knows; that is what the Swan Hill community and extended community knows. Last July they set up a campaign launch to raise the issue that Swan Hill does need a new hospital. They had a rally in August attended by hundreds of residents in Swan Hill. It was a big turnout because everyone is very very supportive of their hospital. I was there and Luke O’Sullivan who was then an upper house member was there but one of the disappointing things for the community was that there was no-one to front up from the Labor Party. So Mark Gepp and Jaclyn Symes who are the two upper house members for Northern Victoria Region-neither of those people chose to turn up at the rally and even worse neither of those people chose to put in an apology for not attending that rally. As I said at the time at the rally I felt it was a real slight on the people of Swan Hill and district that neither of those MPs turned up particularly Mark Gepp who pretends to be the duty upper house member for that part of Victoria. He was not there and I think that is an insult. Out of that particular program the Swan Hill Needs a New Hospital committee had a T-shirt program and I was very pleased to bring down T-shirts for all the members of Parliament in both the upper house and the lower house around that campaign for Swan Hill Needs a New Hospital. On 8 October the member for Bulleen the then Leader of the Opposition visited Swan Hill and made a funding announcement that if we were elected we would allocate $44 million to rebuild the hospital in Swan Hill. That followed on from commitments that we made in government where we actually put money in to rebuild the aged-care facility there which was in very very poor condition and not up to the expected standards of today. It is now named Logan Lodge-a great facility there for the hospital. The federal government has actually funded the community rehab centre which has been built on the other corner of the block but what both of these new buildings show is how important it is that the rest of the hospital site gets redeveloped because once you have some of it rebuilt it then shows up the rest for what it is. What we have seen from the Labor Party since the inception of the Swan Hill Needs a New Hospital campaign since the public rally and since the announcement by the member for Bulleen that we would fund it if we were elected is absolute silence. So I would urge the Minister for Health to come to Swan Hill visit it and then more importantly take up the argument in cabinet to get a funding announcement in this May’s budget.