VIDEO: Greens’ $100m pledge for Tweed Hospital
THE Tweed Hospital Medical Staff Council has welcomed an election pledge by the Greens to invest $100million in the facility should it win the seat.
The commitment was made by Greens leader Dr Richard Di Natale, who travelled to the electorate to make the announcement alongside Richmond candidate Dawn Walker.
The commitment answers the call by medical staff who have waged a campaign over the election campaign calling for the Federal Government to step in and help cover the costs of the Tweed Hospital's redevelopment.
The NSW Government has committed $48m to the upgrade, but costs are now about $120million.
"When it comes to funding for Tweed Hospital, it lags behind other hospitals in the electorate," Dr Di Natale said.
"The Federal Government provides funding for hospitals whether it's for capital works or cancer care all the time.
"The Federal Government should step in for Tweed because the State Government has failed."
Dr Di Natale said the pledge would be funded through several cost-saving measures, including a $17billion saving by cutting corporate tax breaks.
The $100m pledge is in addition to a Greens proposal on Friday to restore a funding model where the Commonwealth and States would share costs in delivering hospital services.
"Restoration of the funding model will ensure that hospitals like the Tweed do not end up in this situation in the future," Dr Di Natale said.
Co-chair of the council, Dr Mike Lindley-Jones, welcomed the promise that is only likely to come should Mrs Walker be elected in a hung parliament.
"Richard Di Natale is a doctor and worked in hospitals, so he readily understood the issues," Dr Lindley-Jones said.
"It is Tweed's turn, Lismore is undergoing an upgrade, Coffs Harbour has been undergoing an upgrade, Byron has been re-built so it is Tweed's turn.
"They listened to what the problems were and they seemed very sympathetic to the plight of the Tweed Hospital," he said.
Ms Walker said successive governments had failed to respond to the doctors' calls, including their most recent campaign timed to coincide with the Federal Election.
"Successive governments, under both Labor and the Coalition, have failed the community in allowing this health crisis at Tweed hospital," she said.
"The funding of stage one of the Tweed Hospital would be my priority (if elected)," she said.
Dr Lindley-Jones called on other parties to make their pledge to the facility.
"We don't want to get involved in supporting or attacking one party over another, we just want to make sure the Tweed Hospital gets what it needs," he said.
In response, Labor's Justine Elliot said: "Only Labor can be trusted to deliver better hospitals and this election is a choice between the Nationals, which will give a $50 billion tax cut to big business, and Labor which will invest in health and hospitals".
Nationals candidate Matthew Fraser said the State Government had committed to funding the full cost of Stage One of the development.
The announcement follows a new Roy Morgan Research poll earlier this week showing just 1.5 points separated Labor and the Greens to win Richmond.