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Political competition moving Armidale Hospital forward

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Media Release 4th November 2012

Political Competition moving Armidale Hospital forward.

Political competition can move mountains or in this case hospitals according to the Independent Member for New England, Tony Windsor following the re-commitment by the NSW Government to fund $10m of the Armidale Hospital redevelopment.

Mr Windsor has welcomed the NSW Government’s re-commitment to the much needed redevelopment and in doing so he believes that the NSW Government has admitted guilt that they had blocked the Armidale Hospital application to Round 4 of the Federal Health and Hospital Fund.

“The documents I received under my ‘Freedom of Information’ request show clearly the refusal of the NSW Government to lodge the Armidale Hospital redevelopment application despite Hunter New England Area Health having it as their only priority.

“We now see the NSW Government re-committing to fund $10m towards the project - a commitment of the previous State Labor Government that the new Coalition Government withdrew - as the heat in the community was rising about why the application wasn’t even submitted.

“I expect now for the Coalition at the Federal level to promise prior to the election next year to fund the rest of the money needed to redevelop the Armidale Hospital.

“Locally, further work is underway to develop the clinical needs plan to meet the needs of the community and being ready for when the Federal Government calls for applications for the next funding round - something that the former Independent MP for Tamworth, Peter Draper did so that Tamworth Hospital was ready to go for Round 3 of the Health and Hospital Fund without needing 10,000 signatures just to raise it as an issue in the NSW Parliament.

“With this new State Government commitment and the answers to the questions I have asked of the NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner last week, I look forward to a full blown submission that I can take forward at the Federal level,” Mr Windsor said.

Mr Windsor will also be holding National Party member Richard Torbay, the Northern Tablelands MP to his word about the State Government funding the entire redevelopment.

“The Independent MP, Richard Torbay (now a National Party member) said back in February, ‘Should the allegations (of deliberate sabotage of a bid for Commonwealth funding by Health Minister Jillian Skinner) prove to have substance the state would, in my (Mr Torbay’s) opinion, be obliged to compensate the Armidale and district community and find the $50 million for the upgrade from its own coffers” and a fact confirmed by NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner on Prime7 News as recently as October 12 when she said, ‘We had limited time to put submissions together and we had many priorities as we still do I have to say, across the State, and Armidale was not one of them.’

“Well, the allegations are proving correct, so Mr Torbay should pursue the full amount through his new colleagues if he really is standing up for his community and not his own future political aspirations,” Mr Windsor said.