Dear Editor

Comments in last week’s edition of The Wombat Post, that Daylesford has been forgotten or ignored could not be further from the truth. In fact, since I was first elected as part of the Andrews Labor Government in 2014 there has been record investment into Daylesford, helping to make it the thriving regional community it is today.

The Daylesford Hospital provides a range of excellent health services to local residents including an Urgent Care centre, surgical and allied health services.

Labor has continued to support the hospital through various grants to undertake infrastructure upgrades and replacements.

These investments include $4.55 million through the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund (RHIF) to redevelop the operating suite at Daylesford Hospital, and more than $1.3 million for a range of other maintenance and infrastructure upgrades.

Earlier this month an additional $4.4 million was secured by Central Highlands Rural Health to fund moreimprovements across its Creswick, Daylesford and Kyneton campuses.

This funding stands in stark contrast to the Coalition who will promise the world while in opposition but will do the opposite if given a chance to govern.

How can we forget the Kennett Liberal Government which closed over 1300 hospital beds, sacked over 2000 nurses and closed 12 hospitals in rural and regional Victoria, including the Clunes hospital.

As a passionate advocate for rural communities, I continue to support the case for investment across rural and regional health services, and the Victorian Government remains committed to identifying opportunities to upgrade these critical services.

Statewide health service infrastructure needs are continually reviewed and assessed by the Department of Health, taking into account factors including asset condition, masterplanning and feasibility work, current and future service demand and population growth projections, both in terms of individual health service catchments and the health system as a whole.

As the local member, I am pleased that Daylesford Hospital is included in the Victorian Government’s capital planning priorities framework. Like all health infrastructure projects, investment is balanced against other priority projects and needs of the system for future funding.

The Government will continue to work closely with Central Highlands Rural Health to assess demand in the area.

It is vital Victoria’s small towns have access to quality health facilities and services to support the local community and I will continue to work hard to ensure that Daylesford Hospital can meet the current and future needs of our community.

Mary-Anne Thomas MP

Member for Macedon

Minister for Health