Moree and Glen Innes Hospital redevelopment fast-tracked
THE 2020-21 NSW budget announced on Tuesday will fast-track $2 million allocated for final planning of the $80 million Moree District Hospital redevelopment and $500,000 to bring forward and commence the $20 million refurbishment of Glen Innes Hospital.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said with this money in the bank, Hunter New England Health (HNEH) can continue planning and start to deliver these vital health projects.
“It’s wonderful to see the money beginning to flow so these crucial local health projects can get cracking,” Mr Marshall said.
“What we are about to see take place are two very different developments; the $80 million Moree Hospital is a full knock-down and rebuild, while the $20 million Glen Innes Hospital is a refurbishment.
“As such, the planning for the Moree Hospital will be more extensive and in-depth, needing to account for the location and size of the new building and specific service delivery.
“Consultation on the Moree Hospital’s Clinical Service Plan is already well progressed thanks to funds made available in last year’s Budget.
“During December, discussions on this plan will take place with hospital staff, local GPs, Moree Plains Shire Council and community groups, ensuring all stakeholders are given a say on the hospital’s final design.
“It’s anticipated in the first half of 2021 the draft Clinical Services Plan will be presented to the Minister for Health Brad Hazzard for assessment and approval and the site Master Plan will be complete.
“With this framework in place in time for the 2021-2022 Budget, we will be in a position to see cold hard cash put forward for the construction of the largest health infrastructure project this region has undertaken.”
Mr Marshall said the half-a-million dollars allocated for Glen Innes Hospital would get the first stage of the redevelopment off and running.
“With the Clinical Services and Master Plan for the Glen Innes Hospital nearly finalised, as soon as the ink dries on their approval, work to demolish the old nurse’s quarters can begin,” he said.
“I have made it clear I want the redevelopment to facilitate a NSW Ambulance station on the hospital site and I am confident from recent meetings with HNEH that feedback has been taken on board.
“Again, once both those plans are finalised early next year we will know exactly how much the refurb will cost, with the expectation a tranche of those funds will be available in next financial year’s budget.
“It is absolutely key that in these early stages the planning is done right. The last thing we want for the Glen Innes community is to rush into the project and leave something out that might benefit the community.”
Mr Marshall said this announcement would give economic certainty to the Moree and Glen Innes communities.
“As we have seen with the redevelopment of Armidale and Inverell hospitals, the construction of these major health projects provides new employment in the short term, while long-term acts to entice new people to town,” he said.
“For families looking to relocate from the city to the bush after COVID-19, two priorities will be good schools and a healthy hospital.
“With a brand new hospital in Moree and refurbishment facility at Glen Innes, I think both towns will become even more attractive for potential new residents.
“I expect these improvements will offset what is fast becoming a life or death situation for these towns, assisting to attract and maintain the doctors and health professionals needed to keep residents safe and healthy.
“The people of Moree and Glen Innes have fought tooth, nail and petition over nearly half a decade to get to this point, so while I have advocated strongly for these funds, today’s announcement is really a victory for them.”
Media Release: Tuesday, November 17, 2020