$17.5 mill boost for hospital, but more needed says MP
AN EXTRA $10.5million for Grafton Base Hospital is just a start of the funding needed to allow the hospital to meet the pressures building on it.
A member of the hospital's Medical Staff Council, Dr Allan Tyson, said the announcement in Tuesday's budget was welcome, but a long time coming.
"Really this has been promised for a while, so it's actually a little difficult to get really excited about," Dr Tyson said.
"I can remember going down the back of the hospital with (former Member for Clarence) Steve Cansdell when Jillian Skinner was Health Minister and looking at all the bad old buildings.
"That was the first time this sort of figure was talking about it and now it's happened, just in time for an election."
Dr Tyson said the hospital was at the top of the priority list for a rebuild to cope with demand that will come on it when the new Grafton jail opens in 2020.
Country Labor candidate for Clarence, Trent Gilbert, also said the funding seemed like a re-announcement of money already promised.
"I seem to remember a figure like this being mentioned when I ran for the seat in 2015," he said.
The Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis agreed this funding was just the beginning.
The budget revealed an extra $10.5 million to fully fund renal dialysis, chemotherapy, physiotherapy, as well as occupational and speech therapy services bringing the total to $17.5 million for the project.
"This is great news but I am already fighting for more. As jobs and families flow to the Clarence with projects like Australia's largest jail, the Pacific Highway upgrade the new Grafton Bridge, we need to plan ahead and that includes a bigger and even better hospital.
"My next health priority is securing the funds needed for a total rebuild of Grafton Base Hospital. A new helipad at Maclean Hospital is also very much on my radar.
"I raised both of these projects with the Deputy Premier during his recent visit to the Clarence Valley. They are both high priority health projects that I am confident will be funded."