NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was heckled as she dodged protesters demanding a new hospital in the NSW riverina town of Griffith.
The Premier snuck in through the car park entrance at the Griffith Exies Club for a community cabinet meeting, appearing to avoid around 200 angry resident gathered around the club’s main entrance.
Most protesters ran to the rear car park entrance when they saw a car with Victorian number plates driving the NSW Premier in just after 9am.
“What do we want, new hospital, now” was the chant of around of protesters as the Premier drove in and walked in the club clutching a coffee and papers.
Jenna Woodland, president of a protest group called Save Griffith Base Hospital, called out “can we ask you a few questions Premier?”, but the request was ignored.
“Last time I was here I announced $35 million for the hospital,” the Premier said to protesters.
“Not enough, we need $200 million for a new hospital,” a protester said in response.
Bill Calabria, a popular local businessman who owns Calabria Family Wines, was the only protester who managed to speak to the premier before she entered the club.
“I told her ‘we’re in dire straits here premier, we have one surgeon for a hospital that services 80,000 people,” Mr Calabria told The Area News
“She responded by saying ‘I’m doing the best I can.”
Protesters gathered around Griffith Exies main entrance from 8.45am hoping at least one minister would front up and explain whether the NSW Government were going to stop what they call constant downgrading of their hospital.
“We want a decision on a new hospital in Griffith and we want to see a funding commitment,” Ms Woodland said.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was said to have gone in to the club through the main entrance, but was not seen by The Area News or protest organisers.
Among the protesters was Griffith business chamber president Paul Pierotti, Musician Robert Fattore, and real estates agents Brendan Catanzariti, Jeanette Cunial and Nathan Thomas.
Anger over the hospital started last month when the NSW Government announced the hospital’s key pathology services would be downgraded, and relocated to Wagga.
After weeks of sustained protest, the NSW Government reversed the decision.
But residents continued to fight, holding a 1400 -strong mass rally last Saturday to highlight downgrades to radiology, sterilisation and other health services.
The NSW Premier went to Griffith Exies for a private community Cabinet meeting.
The Premier and cabinet will be meeting with community groups and making announcements across Griffith today.
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