NEW HOSPITAL: Will they or won’t they?
CONCERNS over the next state budget has Clarence Valley Council picking up the pen and ink.
Councillors yesterday resolved to write to the State Government over concerns a $263.8m promise to redevelop Grafton Base Hospital would be left out of the budget.
A mayoral minute was put forward by Mayor Jim Simmons.
Council will now write to the NSW Premier, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Medical Research and the Deputy Premier asking that the election commitment be honoured and included in the 2020/21 State budget.
Councillor Greg Clancy said while we were living in "unconventional and extreme times" it was not the "restoration of a football field in Sydney" which could be left "for a couple of years".
"This is health, this is a hospital and what we need to be improving urgently," he said.
"I don't think we should let the local member or the State Government off the hook on this one."
"We should be doing all we can to get this funding as quickly as possible."
Last June Mr Gulaptis said there had been no money allocated to the redevelopment as the project was in the "very early planning stages" and made a commitment works would start during this current term of government.
It was expected that the hospital would join a long line of similar works which were promised in the lead up to the 2019 election.
When invited to reiterate his promise that work would start in this current term, Mr Gulaptis declined, and assured the community he was doing what he could to keep the project in the minds of his colleagues.
"Health remains the number one priority for the community and the COVID-19 pandemic has just emphasised the vital role hospitals and our health system play in keep the community safe," he said.
"I have raised the importance of the Grafton Base Hospital upgrade with everyone that will listen and more recently reminded the Deputy Premier that it was an election commitment and that I expected it to be honoured."