Hospital still on the way despite coalition threat: Gulaptis
DESPITE almost splitting the coalition in a dispute with the Liberal party over koala legislation last week, the Member for Clarence believes the government will still uphold it's commitment to fund a new hospital at Grafton.
It comes as members of the Grafton Base Hospital Community Committee again apply pressure to Mr Gulaptis and the government over obtaining a firm commitment for the money.
Grafton Hospital Community Committee spokesman Ron Bell said he didn't know where the Grafton project now stood with news this week Premier Gladys Berejiklian made a special trip to the Illawarra Region to announce $700 million for redevelopment of the Shoalhaven Hospital.
After displaying their message across the main street of Grafton, with a massive banner draped over balcony of the former Weileys Hoel, the committee will take their message to other local businesses.
Window stickers will be produced for businesses to show their support for the campaign.
Mr Bell said they had been encouraged by the public support for their campaign to remind the Member for Clarence and the premier of their promise to provide $263 million for the hospital redevelopment.
Mr Bell says the Grafton Base Hospital has passed its 'used-by' date and Clarence valley residents and dedicated staff at the hospital deserved a 21st century health facility just like Coffs Harbour, Lismore and other regional centres.
"This is evidenced by the fact the new Clarence Correctional Centre whilst currently being at only 25 per cent capacity is already using beds and medical facilities at the Grafton Base many times more than had been indicated by the operator prior to its opening," he said.
"If this trend continues it could mean local residents will have to vie with prison inmates for the available beds."
Mr Bell said "expecting to see" planning money was not very reassuring for the Clarence community that the project will go ahead.
"The necessary funds for the planning stage need to be made available now as the promised project was already eighteen months behind time," he said.
Mr Gulaptis said he didn't think his recent threat to move to the crossbench would alter the commitment made by the premier prior to the 2019 election.
"At the end of the day the government is responsible for governing of all NSW. It's made a commitment that Grafton and the Clarence needs a new base hospital and that has nothing to do with this," he said.
Speaking at the opening of the new ambulatory care centre earlier in the month, Mr Gulaptis was confident the money would appear in this year's budget.
"This is the start of the redevelopment of the Grafton Base Hospital, I have no doubt about that," he said.
"We will be ensuring that we put a shovel in the ground before the end of this term.
"I know that the government will honour its commitments and I look forward to receiving some funding in this budget to make sure we can honour this commitment before this term expires."