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Thursday, 20 September 2007
Page: 117

Mr HUNT (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs) (9:57 AM) —I begin by saying it has been an honour to serve with you, Mr Deputy Speaker Causley. You have had a distinguished career and it has been a pleasure and a learning experience working with you. I wish to speak specifically about Warley Hospital in the electorate of Flinders. It is a key part of the services of Bass Coast Regional Health, although it is not formally part of any state system. It is on Phillip Island and needs assistance. The vision for Warley Hospital is very simple. This is a community hospital which has been owned by the community, run by the community and not taken a profit. It has returned any operating surplus to the work of the hospital and to the community since the late 1920s. It is a wonderful bush nursing hospital. What it now needs is twofold. Firstly, it needs assistance in terms of its capital redevelopment and the creation of a new hospital on a new hospital site, a greenfield site. Secondly, it needs assistance for the provision of four public beds.

There is a division of labour on this. The hospital has put together—under its new CEO, Stewart Cramer, and under its old CEO, Arthur Smith, who tragically died prematurely—a wonderful vision. It is a careful business plan which sets out a $14½ million project which would see the hospital move to a greenfield site. I support this plan. As part of it, the hospital have sought federal funding assistance. I have put forward that plan at the Commonwealth level. To that end, I have met with the Minister for Health and Ageing, Mr Abbott, people in Minister Abbott’s office and people in the Prime Minister’s office to advance the case. I do not want to make any false guarantees. There have been no promises from the officers but they have been impressed by the quality of and the detail in the proposal put forward by Warley Hospital. My job is to fight continuously, without any let-up, for funding for Warley Hospital’s new capital redevelopment. I make no false guarantees, but I pledge to continue working until we get there—and I remain hopeful.

The second part of Warley Hospital’s vision is where the state should step in. Warley needs four public beds. It is planning for four and it would like to work to that end. I believe that the fair balance of responsibilities means the state of Victoria should provide four public beds. That would provide ongoing support. We already provide almost $1½ million a year for Warley through recurrent aged-care funding. The state needs to do its bit. My pledge is to work on the capital funding. I seek the state’s support to work on the four public beds. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. IR Causley)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members’ statements has concluded.