A regional hospital for the Eurobodalla will improve life for patients and health workers – and may encourage more private investment in the region.
The NSW Government announced $150 million in funding for the project on Wednesday, October 31.
Eurobodalla Shire doctor Michael Holland, who has spearheaded a revitalised campaign for one, new regional hospital, said the announcement was “historic” for the region.
“I’ve witnessed thousands of births, but this is right up there, and it will bring new life to the Eurobodalla,” Dr Holland said.
“It’s a very proud day of the area.”
Dr Holland, who on Friday presented a petition to Bega MP Andrew Constance calling on a new, centralised health facility, said did not expect to have a win of this magnitude this early into his campaign.
He said the next step was for the community to work together to agree on a location for the development.
“Logistically, our campaign all along has been the immediate improvement in the services we’ve got, a commitment to the new hospital, which we’ve got now, and the fact it was of equitable access to the members of the Eurobodalla,” Dr Holland said.
“People will get on board with that. It might be a small extra amount of travel, but it’s nothing compared to driving to Canberra and Sydney.”
He said community members and groups would be invited to have their say.
Nurses are being pulled from pillar to post at the momentGeorgie Rowley
“I have already proposed that a community group be developed to help with answering the questions and getting the community involved, whether its chambers of commerce or community representatives so people know they have a consultative role,” he said.
Nurse Georgie Rowley said a regional hospital would improve quality of life for nurses and other health workers.
“It is an amazing, amazing contribution, and a huge step forward for our community,” she said.
“Nurses are being pulled from pillar to post at the moment, they’re working at both sites. To have one regional hospital, rather than fighting between two separately funded hospitals, is just fantastic.”
Health advocate Brad Rossiter said staying close to home during trying times will make a huge difference for people with chronic illnesses.
“If people can stay in the shire and not have to travel away for anything, that would be fabulous,” he said.
“Travelling to Canberra, how I have in the past, for multiple weeks and months – you’re away from family, friends, your support system – to stay close to home would be absolutely fantastic.”
Absolutely mind-blowingMayor Liz Innes
Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Liz Innes said the announcement was a testament to the region.
“(It) absolutely shows the confidence the state government has in our community,” she said.
“When our community speaks, they are absolutely genuine, and it’s vital for the shire. You don’t always want to have all your eggs in one basket, and this does give significant employment opportunities.
“It’s bringing the investment of the state government up to about $500 million in the last two years. That’s never been seen before. It’s absolutely mind-blowing.”
Deputy Mayor Rob Pollock said many residents have been waiting for a regional hospital for a long time.
“There has always been anxiety to get a modern facility in this shire, but to have it happen so quickly is indicative of the sort of things that have been happening under this state government,” he said.
“When you have that kind of momentum it builds confidence in the private sector ... to make long-term investments in the region.”