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Delay on MRI for Maitland.

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The Hon Bob Baldwin MP Federal Member for Paterson 28 August 2008


Paterson MP Bob Baldwin has blasted the Rudd Labor Government in Federal Parliament today over its failure to deliver an MRI licence for Maitland.

“Back in September 2007 Tony Abbott, the then health minister, put out a tender for an MRI licence covering the areas of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley,” said Mr Baldwin.

“I want to establish right at the beginning that the town of Maitland is a part of the Hunter Valley. To think otherwise would show an ignorance of geography.

“A press release put out before the election by Nicola Roxon, the then shadow minister for health, Joel Fitzgibbon, the Member for Hunter, Sharon Grierson, the Member for Newcastle, Jill Hall, the Member for Shortland, Paterson Labor candidate Jim Arneman and Greg Combet, the Labor candidate for Charlton outlined their health policies. They said of the MRI for Maitland:

… Labor supports the provision of Medicare funding for an MRI machine in Maitland.

“What did we see after that? We saw the tender recalled and still not issued. That tender recall was to insert the word ‘Maitland’. If Labor had stayed out of the way and allowed that tender process to go through, Maitland would probably have its licence now. But instead they allowed the community to believe there would be a separate and stand-alone licence for Maitland which Labor has not delivered.

“In a Maitland Mercury article on 31 August 2007 the then Labor candidate for Paterson Jim Arneman was quoted in relation to the MRI issue:

“If it’s good enough for Newcastle it’s good enough for Maitland and I think we’ve got the need for it here.”

Mr Baldwin said a letter from Jan McLucas on 14 July 2008 responding to a representation he made on 28 March 2008 about the MRI stated that the Government hoped to have the tender process “completed by mid-September 2008”.

“That is 12 months longer than necessary that the people of the Maitland area have been without an MRI licence. “

Media enquiries: Shelley Mexon - 0421 443 401

Bob Baldwin - 0419 694 620 Electorate: PO Box 156 Raymond Terrace NSW 2324, 35 Sturgeon Street Raymond Terrace. Phone (02) 4983 1330 Canberra: Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone (02) 6277 4200