Locals are being urged to contact the Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas MP and ask her to do the right thing and match the recent $75M announcement by the Liberal Party to fund the Master Plan for the Daylesford Hospital upgrade.
The Master Plan establishes a blueprint for the hospital’s future to improve the health outcomes of locals. The total estimate for the build for the Master Plan is $75M and it is presented in three broad stage (3 x $25M) for final delivery over 10 years.
With only weeks to go until the 26 November state election, Hepburn Shire Councillor, Lesley Hewitt, and Chair of the Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Appeal Committee, said:
“Time is running out, and the Minister for Health, the local member for many of us, has a real opportunity to make a positive difference to the future wellbeing and prosperity of our area and match the $75M upgrade announcement.”
“Minister Thomas is well aware of her constituents’ longstanding calls for a desperately needed upgrade to the 160 year old Daylesford Hospital. The hospital has suffered an underinvestment and we are simply asking for this to be remedied with an announcement to fund local, equitable and modern health facilities for the Daylesford Hospital precinct.”
A local grassroots community campaign to get an upgrade pledge from both major parties for the no longer fit for purpose Daylesford Hospital commenced last year.
“The growing campaign has enjoyed the support of countless locals, including community, business, sporting, tourism and medical groups. Support from Independent MPs and local Greens candidates is further acknowledgement that small rural towns and the health of its communities really matter and should not be reduced to a political football,” Cr Hewitt said.
In late 2021 the campaign raised $100K from the community in less than 8 weeks to fund development of a Master Plan. Central Highlands Rural Health commissioned and endorsed the Master Plan earlier this year following an extensive consultation process.
The Daylesford Hospital has users straddling both the electorates of Macedon and Ripon. Macedon is held as a safe Labor seat by the Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas. Ripon, is held, from a tight 2018 result by Liberal MP, Louise Staley.
Both major parties are currently making strategic pre-election announcements around hospital upgrades and new capital works builds across Victoria. The weekend saw a $400M Saturday announcement for the Maroondah Hospital upgrade by Matthew Guy, the Opposition Leader of the Liberal Party, only to be outbid on Sunday by Premier Daniel Andrews pledge of $1 Billion if Labor are re-elected for the same hospital.
“Health is clearly a major focus of this election. We want the bidding war style politics removed and not have the future of our hospital be poll driven. It is simply the right thing for the Minister to fix and properly fund for the future of locals and tourists alike,” Cr Hewitt said.
The area has seen matching pre-election bids from both major parties around state election time with a $100M for Maryborough Hospital in 2018 and $10M for Daylesford Secondary College in 2014.
The Hepburn Shire Council issued a press release welcoming the recent Liberal Party $75M announcement and seeking a matching pledge from the Andrews Government, noting the vital importance of this project to the area.