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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Too little; too late for Hazzard and his golden shovel

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, together with representatives of the local Aboriginal community, to make an announcement on the new $260 million Eurobodalla Regional Hospital

WHEN: 9am Wednesday 1 March At Albert Street, East Moruya off Maunsell Street Just days before the current NSW Government goes into caretaker mode before the March 25th election the Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, is expected to make an appearance in Moruya to "turn a sod" at the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital site. Most likely the "announcement" he is scheduled to make will be to announce the commencement of the archaeological study that is required. Any announcement in the lead-up to an election allows the Minister to 'introduce' his local candidate. No doubt the on-site "announcement" will see a former an ex-Liberal member present as well, providing campaign support. The Minister is actually a few weeks late because the community decided they couldn't wait for what would end up being an electioneering opportunity for the Minister to introduce the Liberal candidate for the region and to pontificate on all the wonderful things his government have done and why everyone should vote his government back in.

Having seen the Minister of Health "preach from the lectern" for previous election candidates and attempt to control the narrative whilst ignoring the questions a group of long term passionate, dedicated community who had championed advocacy for the new facility by way of petitions and parliamentary representation took it upon themselves to turn the first sod, free of the political rhetoric that the Minister is well known for.

Above: Brad Hazzard made this commitment alongside Fiona Kotvojs in January 2021. Why was Kotvojs there? She was the Liberal candidate in the upcoming State election. In December 2021 the community were told, in regards to the Eurobodalla Regional Hospital, that construction of a facility of this size generally takes between two to three years to complete and is expected to open to patients in 2025 In April 2022 Brad Hazzard, the NSW Minister for Health announced: "The Eurobodalla community will soon benefit from significantly expanded health services with the site now acquired for the new, state-of-the-art $260 million Eurobodalla Regional Hospital". The Health Minister also announced that the NSW Government had completed acquisition of the land – under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 – at Braemar Drive, Moruya, paving the way for the Level 4 facility to get underway. What the Minister didn't mention was how long it had taken to acquire the land. Just weeks earlier senior executives from Southern NSW Local Health District confirmed the sale of the land was still under negotiation after it was selected in 2020.

In August 2022 the community were told by the Minister that early works on the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital are expected to commence in late 2022 with main works construction scheduled to commence in 2023 with the hospital expected to open to patients in 2025. On a recent trip to the South East, the Premier took it upon himself to do the honours of officially opening the Moruya Emergency Department demountable that came in to being due to public outcry, and exposure, via the Regional health inquiry, that the emergency department in Moruya was under resourced. The flying visit by the Premier to cut the ribbon of the new Moruya Hospital Emergency Department in January was an example of the politics around health in the South East. Noticeably absent were the advocates for the new facility who had been championing the short term need for improvements to emergency capacity since 2017, including a Level 4 hospital. Nor was the Labor Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland, a long time advocate for the extension, invited. Embarrassingly the Eurobodalla Mayor was also not invited to what was a private Liberal Party event, supposedly celebrating the expanded emergency treatment and care services. But there for the photo shoot was the Premier, extolling all that his government was doing for health and holding the end of the ribbon was ... the Liberal candidate for the upcoming State election, who happens to also be the Mayor of the adjacent Shire which adds further to the snub given to the Eurobodalla Mayor, especially given he was in his office at the time, across the other side of town.

Above: Missing from the photo shoot are the local mayor and the local Member. The ribbon cutting was originally set for outside with a lectern and ribbon in place however the arrival of some nurses with posters led the Premier to scurry away to an inside, invitation only, photo shoot.

Above: Perrottet was unwilling to answer some basic questions around staffing for the new facility and around the staffing shortfalls and closure of health services in the South East So what can we expect of the "official" sod turning on Wednesday? An invitation only event with invitation only media, a media release saying how good the government was that it was turning the sod during the "current term of government". In the background of the Minister will be the Liberal Candidate and most likely the ex member for Bega might also make the photo shoot.

1 Comment

Unknown member
Mar 03, 2023

When are our elected representatives going to tell the real story about how government really works and who supplies the funding ? Publicity seeking isn't what the people expect.


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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