YAMBA may be one step closer to having a community health centre, however, concerns regarding how the facility will be funded were raised when the NSW Government announced a $1.2 million application to the Health and Hospitals Fund for the project.
The application, announced by Minister for Health Jillian Skinner, includes a $1.2 million contribution from the NSW Government, and a request for $4.8 million from the Federal Government.
ALP candidate for the Clarence by-election Peter Ellem, who is a Yamba resident, fully supports the project although he is concerned where the funding will come from to staff and then maintain the facility.
"The Health and Hospitals fund is extremely competitive; applications will be made for a share in $745 million by every state and territory," he said.
"On top of that, there has been no mention of recurrent funding for the project which is a bit of a worry. You can't just build a building without being able to fund putting people in it to provide the service.
"That being said, this would be an excellent thing to land for the Lower Clarence. I welcome the attention they are giving it during this by-election."
Member for Page Janelle Saffin sings a similar tune to Ellem and wants the NSW Government to cough up the cash to be taken seriously.
"This is a paltry amount. To show they're really serious why aren't they at least promising to put up half the funding. Put up a serious offer and I'll take it seriously. I'll continue my lobbying on this project, regardless of who says what, because the health needs of the Yamba community are too important to play these silly games," Ms Saffin said.
"The State Government could just come out and say they're going to fund it. Do one good thing. I do a lot of the heavy lifting; it's time the Coalition guys did some."
"I have thoroughly briefed the Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, on the need for a Yamba Community Health Centre; a project that Jim Agnew OAM has driven relentlessly. There is federal funding available in the regional health and hospitals fund, $475 million nationally, and there is a huge demand for this. The State Government knows they should put up half-half offers to be taken seriously. If this really is a State priority, not just an election one, show us the money."