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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3844

Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (09:45): Thanks to more money going to regional and rural hospitals in this 43rd Parliament than ever before from the Commonwealth, lobbying is now in full swing within the mid-North Coast local health district for funding related to Kempsey District Hospital. It is technically outside the seat of Lyne but is one of a range of hospitals that service many people within the Lyne electorate and the mid-North Coast community. It is very much a partner in the hospital network between Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Kempsey in particular.

This is an opportunity to advocate for funding support through the next round of the Health and Hospitals Fund for Kempsey District Hospital, which is a major contributor to community life within the Macleay and, as I have said previously, an integral part of the concept of one hospital on three sites—the relationship between hospitals at Wauchope, Kempsey and Port Macquarie; all within 40 to 45 minutes of each other. This is the only submission that has been put forward by the local health district to the Health and Hospitals Fund on behalf of these mid-North Coast hospitals. It has been submitted for an expanded redevelopment of Kempsey hospital. The money is going to include building costs, furniture and fittings, consultancy, surveying and engineering.

The Health and Hospitals Fund was established in 2009 by the Australian government as part of its Nation Building Program and in this 43rd Parliament specific rounds for recognition of regional and rural capital works for hospitals have been an important part of this parliament with one more round to go.

This is an application that is relatively unique. Normally communities fight each other town by town in communities on the mid-North Coast and North Coast of New South Wales—in fact, everywhere; everyone seems to hate the next biggest town—but this is an application strongly supported by key stakeholders from Coffs Harbour through to Port Macquarie. Up to 60 key letters of support from stakeholders, who all agree that the redevelopment of Kempsey hospital is the No. 1 capital priority, have been received.

I strongly support this application. It is needed for the broader health network, and I will do what I can to lobby and advocate for this successful application. I understand the round is being assessed now. Whether in the May budget or before, I hope there is success with the Kempsey District Hospital application.