Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Health, David Davis. I ask: does the minister stand by his statement that the construction of a new public hospital at Waurn Ponds will have commenced by the end of this parliamentary term?
Hon. D. M. DAVIS (Minister for Health) — I thank the member for her question and indicate that the government stands by all its election commitments. I will take the opportunity to make some commentary about health services in and around Geelong, Waurn Ponds and the region that is serviced by Barwon Health. I was fortunate the other day to be at Barwon Health to look at progress on a number of key matters.
Honourable members interjecting.
Hon. D. M. DAVIS — It was sitting crookedly, and I straightened it. In the spirit of the moment, I have done some minor repair work.
My point here is that Barwon Health services a significant and growing market. The government is determined to make sure that health services are well looked after throughout that whole area. It is a community that has a magnificent set of health facilities, but it needs to deal with the growth that is occurring through that region. There is significant growth throughout the region that is serviced by Barwon Health, and the government, through its election commitments, will honour the promises to the people of Geelong to deliver on those commitments.
Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — I take it that the minister is confirming there will be a new public hospital at Waurn Ponds. When exactly will construction of this hospital be completed, and will there be funding allocated in the May budget towards this project?
Hon. D. M. DAVIS (Minister for Health) — I thank the member for her question. She will well understand that I am probably not going to announce the budget today. In the next sitting week the Treasurer will have the honour of delivering the state budget. He will make announcements about recurrent programs but also important capital programs. The government stands by its election commitments to the people of Geelong. We put forward significant enabling works money in last year’s budget to enable significant work to begin at Geelong Hospital. I was at Geelong Hospital, as I said, late last week — —
Hon. M. J. Guy — Was it a written invite?
Hon. D. M. DAVIS — No. It was a very good opportunity to announce money for the cardiac catheter lab at Geelong Hospital, an important program to replace key medical equipment. That is a measure of the government’s commitment to the people of Geelong and the surrounding region. The government will make announcements in the normal way in the normal budgetary cycle.