Chair of the Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Appeal Committee, Hepburn Shire Councillor Lesley Hewitt, welcomed the generous announcement this week by the Daylesford District Community Bank of $750 000 to support the Daylesford Hospital upgrade and delivery of the Master Plan.

The Bank announced today that it had conditionally committed $750,000 over 10 years to the Daylesford Hospital upgrade. The commitment is conditional on the Victorian State Government funding the upgrade (currently estimated at $75 million) contained in the Daylesford Health Precinct Masterplan.

The Daylesford Health Precinct Masterplan was released in May 2022 by Central Highlands Rural Health Board of Directors, following community consultation. The Masterplan was funded by community contributions of $100,000, the cornerstone of which was a $25,000 contribution from Daylesford District Community Bank.

The Masterplan includes upgraded and expanded aged care, new wards, increased space for dialysis, shared rooms replaced with single rooms, improved disability access and new community health facilities, all within the existing Daylesford Hospital site. The Master Plan establishes a blueprint for the hospital’s future, estimated build costs of $75M, and is presented in three broad stages (3 x $25M) over 10 years.

Daylesford District Community Bank Chair Mark Rak said, “Our local community needs access to better local health services. The Daylesford Hospital, which opened 160 years ago, was built with community support, which it continues to enjoy to this day. It’s the right time now to begin the upgrade of the hospital to reflect community needs and expectations into the future, with local facilities better suited to modern health care.”

“We are delighted to announce our support for the upgrade of the Daylesford Hospital. Our 10 year commitment of $75,000 to $100,000 per year is consistent with the staged modular upgrades in the Masterplan, which are likely to take 6 to 10 years to build,” said Mr Rak.

The Daylesford District Community Bank celebrated its 10th anniversary in April 2022. Since it started operating in 2012 the bank has returned over $1 million to the community by way of community investment and shareholder dividends. Its strong balance sheet and positive financial outlook bode well for continuing significant community investments well into the future.

The Community Bank has a track record of reinvesting in its local community and provided the starting donation last year for the community campaign to fund the Masterplan.

Cr Hewitt said, “Our campaign welcomes the generous pledge from the Daylesford District Community Bank and its further support of the community’s aspirations for a major upgrade to the 160 year old Daylesford Hospital. This $750 000 announcement demonstrates its unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of the Daylesford community and its acknowledgement of how much our area values and wants local access to modern health facilities.”

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 Liberal Party recently committed $75M to fund the Master Plan should it form Government after the November state election.  The community is asking the Andrews Labor Government to match this announcement and safeguard the hospital’s future.

Cr Hewitt said, “Despite fantastic and hardworking staff, the serious infrastructure needs of the Daylesford Hospital are well documented.  The poor chronic health indicators for parts of the Macedon and Ripon electorates are well known, and urgent Government investment is essential to remedy this.”

Cr Hewitt is urging locals to continue contacting local Member for Macedon and Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas MP, and ask her to honour the goodwill of the Daylesford District Community Bank and locals who want the hospital upgrade by matching the $75M announcement to fund the Master Plan.

“A matching $75M pledge from the Andrews Labor Government is the right thing for our health precinct, the right thing for our impacted communities, and the right investment for the area.  Time is running out for Minister Thomas to let countless locals, including community, business, sporting, tourism and medical groups backing calls for an upgrade, know if she will fund local and modern health facilities for the Daylesford Hospital precinct.”

“The campaign for the Daylesford Hospital upgrade has now been supported not only by our wonderful community bank, but by the Hepburn Shire Council, the major local medical clinic, Springs Medical, and wholeheartedly by Daylesford and surrounding communities for the last 12 months.  Our communities should not be disadvantaged based on our postcodes and we are concerned we might be overlooked.”


Related Stories:

Pressure mounts on Victorian government to fund Daylesford Hospital upgrade after bank’s ‘significant’ pledge