Approximately 60 very passionate people attended a public meeting at Narooma Golf Club Saturday November 18th, hosted by Our Towns Our Say. The first agenda item was an update on the Batemans Bay Aquatic/Arts centre development from Fight for the 50m Pool spokesperson Maureen Searson. The main points raised by Maureen were that the issue of health and the Mackay Park arts aquatic centre are both linked by community wellbeing advising the meeting that Council had failed to properly engage and collaborate with pool stakeholders and that the decision not to include a 50m pool in the new complex was made behind closed doors without public scrutiny.
Maureen expanded by saying that Council had obtained letters of support from selected stakeholders but failed to disclose the fact that the 50m pool would be demolished however, as these selected stakeholders discovered the reality, they withdrew their support.
“Council has applied for $25m grant funding from the Australian Government Regional Growth Fund having ‘demonstrated community consultation’ with letters of support from local community groups but where is the evidence when council denies public access to this application.” Ms Searson stated “Did council say in the grant application they were going to demolish to 50m pool and does a 25m meet the criteria for a sport grant; Where’s the evidence?”
“Council denied the community access to the State government grant application lodged with the State Government” The original application is being pursued under a GIPA request and should soon be available for public scrutiny. The first attempt to access the application was blocked by Council however, once determined, they will have no case to block the application.
“Is $51m for an aquatic arts centre without following due process, without transparency, without having engaged and collaborated with stakeholders without including as 50m pool that would be inclusive for the whole community be a sustainable use of our taxes. Ratepayers in Eurobodalla are entitled to know,” concluded Ms Searson’s presentation The next item, being the key item for the day saw a panel of speakers present: Lisa Kennedy, General Manager of Eurobodalla Health Service, which is part of Southern NSW Local Health District. Lisa outlined elements of a Clinical Services Plan designed to overhaul and modernise our health services into the future.
Dr Michael Holland, a well respected local gynaecologist and obstetrician who is spearheading a campaign and petition to gain the support of the NSW Government for the establishment of ONE regional hospital for the Eurobodalla. Dr. Michael Holland was congratulated by resounding acclamation along with his team for their success in gaining a promise of State Government funding but he emphasised the need to keep lobbying the Federal Government for an additional $50 million plus and to focus on the need to have the new building that could provide services equivalent to Bega or Goulburn Hospitals . Dr Holland offered the meeting an update of the lobbying and the results to date.
Dr Jenny Wray, a local GP for 43 years offered a valuable local Narooma perspective to the medical services required of her community. Jenny has been recognised with numerous awards, including the 2011 Australian General Practitioner of the Year and the 2013 Telstra NSW Business Women Business Owner of the Year. Russell Schneider AM , Board Member Southern NSW Local Health District was also present and supportive of the debate and community inclusiveness.
All speakers formed a panel in the final session and questions & comments were invited from the floor The meeting unanimously passed the following motion moved by Dr. Michael Holland seconded by Fitzroy Boulting That this meeting:
Supports the content of the petition to the NSW Legislative Assembly;
Acknowledges its thanks for the State Government’s commitment for funding the new ONE hospital in Eurobodalla;
Urges the State Government to act as soon as possible to improve existing services in transitioning toward a new ONE hospital;
Urges the Federal Government to commit funding to the development of ONE new Eurobodalla Hospital.
It was generally agreed that whilst it was important to note that the siting of the hospital although discussed was seen as best left as the business of the State Health Ministry infrastructure Department . Mike Kelly, unable to attend provided the following statement for the meeting:
I am sorry I can’t be there with you today; I am in Sydney attending the funeral of a
close friend of mine. I hope the discussions on our local Health Services are productive and I look forward to a briefing on the meeting.
As Member for Eden-Monaro I have been keen to get a commitment to upgrade the
health services and facilities in the Eurobodalla region and settle on a plan for a new
hospital and I welcome the NSW Government’s announcement.
The office of the Federal Shadow Minister, Catherine King, has been in contact with
Michael Holland and Federal Labor will stay engaged as details of the Hospital
Labor will consider the capital requirements of the new hospital once the Clinical
Services Plan in competed. In Government, Labor established historic agreements with record funding levels for public hospitals, including additional funding to address elective surgery and emergency department waiting times
Locally, under the Labor Government I secured unpreceded amounts of funding for
our health services including:
$160 million for the new South East Regional Hospital in Bega;
$12 million in funding for transitional care beds and an upgrade to the oncology unit at Moruya Hospital;
$500,000 for expansion of the Queens Street Medical Practice in Moruya;
$200,000 to establish a General Practice in Tuross Heads.
Again, I am sorry I can’t be there today, but I look forward to working with you on the
continued improvement of our local services over the coming years under a Federal
Labor Government. Labor’s NSW State Bega candidate, Leanne Atkinson, presented her statement saying “Firstly, I will be working very closely with my Federal counterparts to ensure much improved health services are delivered for the Eurobodalla.
"I will also be advocating very strongly to NSW Labor leader Michael Daley on the pressing healthcare needs of the Eurobodalla. I see this as a priority."
"Given the Premier’s announcement of a new Hospital for the Eurobodalla – an announcement Labor supports – I look forward to seeing the $150 million allocated in next month’s Half-Yearly Budget Review” and I call upon Andrew Constance to commit to reporting back to the community on that.
"Now, we must remember that it took 5 years from the time the land was identified to when the first patients were admitted to the new hospital in Bega and that our hospitals in the Eurobodalla are currently in need of urgent maintenance and there are workforce needs to addressed, as identified in the petition submitted to the government.
"These issues need to be fixed now – we simply can’t go another 4 or 5 years without these pressing issues being addressed.”
“I will be spending the rest of my campaign listening to the community and then acting, based on their needs.” After all, we want to deliver the best possible health outcomes for everyone in the Shire."
"Where to from here regarding the One Hospital ?" was a question from the floor The answer that came out of the meeting was a need for more lobbying of Federal Government for funds & pushing on with satisfying the criteria to tick off each stage of “Building a Hospital”
Video: Andrew Constance MP updating Parliament about progress on two significant issues for the Bega region: ✅ a new hospital for the Eurobodalla Shire ✅ filtration of the water supply in the Bega Valley.
The Our Town Our Say next Public Meeting will be held on Dec 1st 2:00pm at The Batemans Bay Soldiers Club; the main agenda item: “Impact of the proposed new Batemans Bay Bridge“. The meeting will be looking closely at the financial consequences of traders on Clyde Street who will be isolated from highway traffic once the town's off ramp is removed. Also on the agenda will be the Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee and their role in redesigning the foreshore precinct while also being gagged under a confidentiality agreement and blinkerd to only discuss singular items without looking at the foreshore as a whole. With Council admitting it has no vision plan of reference for the CBD, foreshore and Mackay Park the issue of how the bridge fits in with that overall design, the Vesper Street bypass, Beach Road, the failure to secure funding to complete the Spine Road intersection, boatramps, and the lack of any real consultation with the community over the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site that will be consumed as a worksite for the next five years will also be issues to be discussed. Come along & be informed and ask questions or have your say