For the third time this year, the need for funding of the Maffra Hospital Master plan has been raised in State Parliament after the Health Minister earlier this year said she would visit when “in the vicinity”.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said “I think it is pertinent, months after she made this comment - in response to my initial invitation to visit - to ask when she might be planning to be ‘in the vicinity’ of Maffra.
“Unfortunately it is typical of a range of issues right across all of rural and regional Victoria where there is simply no interest being shown by this Government,” Mr Bull said.
“Having met with Central Gippsland Health Service representatives just before the election to look at the condition of the hospital and see the need to get the upgrade process started, the Coalition committed the $75,000 required.
“It is not a lot of money in the scheme of things. We are not seeking funding for the upgrade itself, this is simply to get the planning done on what is in parts, a tired facility.
“The staff does a great job providing a high quality of care and they deserve appropriate conditions and this is the first step in the process to achieve this.
“It is disappointing that we cannot even get past first base and get money for the planning work, or even a visit to look at the situation.”
Mr Bull said it is projects like this, on top of cuts to funding streams specifically for rural Victoria that was causing concern to rural MP’s across the state.
“We have seen the abolition of the Country Roads and Bridges Program and Local Government Infrastructure Fund that provided money directly to rural councils, the Country Football Netball Grants is gone as is the Wild Dog Bounty and Regional Living Expo to name just a few.
“We’ve also got just 2.9 per cent of the new government’s infrastructure projects in the regions, the state’s agricultural output budget has been cut by 12 per cent, the regional development output budget has been cut by 24 per cent and the road asset management budget has been cut by 10 per cent.
“This is a Melbourne Labor Government that is not giving any love to rural Victoria,” Mr Bull said.