The fallout from the state budget announcement continues.
While Griffith is still reeling after learning Griffith Base Hospital would not yet see funding for the next stage, community members and interested parties are making plans for the next step.
Yesterday’s state budget revealed there was no room for Stage 2 of Griffith Base Hospital’s redevelopment.
However, Griffith Mayor John Dal Broi, who was among those concerned over a lack of funding, has today said he feels more comfortable and confident funding will come through.
Coming off the back of the announcement, Cr Dal Broi said he was initially “very disappointed” and had expected more.
However, today he said while it was “not as bad as initially thought”, he is still disappointed there are no forward estimates.
When the master plan is finalised and costed, Cr Dal Broi said, “we’ll make provision for it.”
“Even if they start building now, it will take four or five years until reaching completion,” he said.
Cr Dal Broi continued to place blame on protests surrounding the nurses’ quarters, but states he’s made a commitment to keep fighting for the hospital.
“People are playing politics with our hospital,” he said.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party spokeswoman Helen Dalton has hit back at Cr Dal Broi’s claims that the nurses’s quarters protests were to blame for the absence of funding, calling it “victim blaming”.
“The idea that the campaign to save the nurses’ quarters is the reason for this decision is victim blaming at its finest,” Mrs Dalton said.
Mrs Dalton said it’s “absolute rubbish” people are opposing the Nationals for this reason.
While the community has a right to express its opinions, she said, there was “no transparency over why the building was being demolished”.
“If they had taken away our funding out of spite because the community spoke up for that, that’s just disgraceful,” she said.
“If it’s a spite thing it’s disgraceful because they’re putting in jeopardy the lives of people.”
She said a lot of good things are happening in the region, but not a lot of government support.
“The community has had enough – the last thing that was built here was Wade High School and that was back in the ’70s.”
Member for Murray Austin Evans wanted to reassure the community of his commitment to Griffith’s hospital.
“I know how important the Griffith Base Hospital redevelopment is to people and I am greatly disappointed and frustrated that a fully funded hospital announcement was not made in the 2018 budget,” Mr Evans said.
“I do however recognise that a full scoping study for the redevelopment of the hospital is still being completed and it may be the case that the scoping study identifies the hospital and its clinical services will cost more than the Government would otherwise have set aside in this budget.
“I therefore want to reassure the community that I will fight to ensure that the new state-of-the-art hospital that we all rightly deserve will receive the proper funding.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian last year made a firm promise to Griffith regarding the hospital plans:
“I’ve said this five times already, the money is there, OK, as the premier of NSW that’s why I’m here to say the money is there, what we need to do is make sure the final planning takes place,” she said.
Griffith is yet to see the promise fulfilled.