THE QUESTION had been asked from the rooftops of Grafton’s main street, and today deputy premier John Barilaro came with an answer.

Standing in front of the historic facade of Grafton Base Hospital, already covered in scaffolding, Mr Barilaro announced the funds for the planning of the redevelopment of the site would be in this year’s budget.

“Accessible quality health care is essential when living in rural and regional NSW and today’s announcement means we can commence planning work for Grafton Base Hospital, as promised to the people of the Clarence Valley,” Mr Barilaro said.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Chris Gulaptis with community members at announcement for Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment money in next NSW budget.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Chris Gulaptis with community members at announcement for Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment money in next NSW budget.

Surrounded by hospital staff and community members, Mr Barilaro reaffirmed the government’s commitment to start work on the new hospital in this term of government, which ends in March 2023.

Mr Barilaro would not commit to a time frame for the new hospital build, saying that was what the planning process was for, and as soon as that was completed they would return with a timeline for the project, estimated to cost around a quarter of a billion dollars.

Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis said he is thrilled to have the Deputy Premier and Leader of the Nationals in Grafton to deliver this news because planning work means the community is a big step closer to improved health services.

“Not only do we need to get the infrastructure and facilities right, we also need to look at the future range of health services and health workforce to best serve the residents of the Clarence Valley,” Mr Gulaptis said.