The next key stage in the major redevelopment of South West Healthcare’s Warrnambool Hospital has been given the green light, with $70.1 million committed in this year’s State Budget, Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney announced today.
Ms Tierney said the funding will build a new inpatient ward block and associated facilities, as part of a staged rebuilding of the hospital, she said.
“The staged redevelopment of Warrnambool was one of the most significant rural health projects of the Brumby Labor Government,” Ms Tierney said.
“These works will ensure that Warrnambool retains its role as the key sub-regional public hospital in south-west Victoria,
“Together with the official opening of the Deakin Medical School yesterday by the Prime Minister, this funding will significantly boost rural and regional health services in Western Victoria,
“In 2010 the Warrnambool hospital will see the first group of Deakin medical students training in rural and regional Victoria, with the hope of these students staying on in the area to practise,” Ms Tierney said.
Much of the Warrnambool Hospital is between 50 and 90 years old, and has only had minor refurbishments over time.
“The Brumby Labor Government has made a major commitment to its redevelopment, and this next stage follows on from $16 million provided in last year’s Budget,” Ms Tierney said.
“This funding was to carry out preparatory works, including the co-location of the mental health beds at Warrnambool and the demolition of buildings to create a space for the new ward block.
“Work started on this stage earlier this year, and is now progressing well.”
Health Minister Daniel Andrews said the redevelopment was working towards a facility that the whole community could be proud of.
“The confirmation of the next stage confirms the Brumby Government’s commitment to the redevelopment of South West Healthcare’s Warrnambool campus and the provision of key health services to south-west Victoria,” he said.
“The Warrnambool community can rest assured that the Brumby Government is committed to this redevelopment.
“Our government is taking action now to ensure the 1.7 million Victorians living in regional and rural areas have access to world-class health services no matter where they live,” Mr Andrews said.
“Since 1999 we’ve undertaken significant work to rebuild country Victoria’s health system, investing more than $650 million on 65 capital works projects, medical equipment and infrastructure upgrades across rural and regional Victoria – including hospitals, community health centres and residential aged care facilities.
“A decade of rebuilding has delivered major improvements to health services in our regional cities and towns but more needs to be done and we will continue to provide our health services with the funding they need to deliver high quality health care across the state.”