The matter I wish to raise relates to rural health, and I direct my adjournment matter to the Minister for Health in the other place.
Health, like education, is dear to all of us. Having healthy education and health systems are key indicators in any developed democracy, as is the provision of these services beyond Melbourne. One of the key concerns of people in Western Victoria Region is the proper provision of health services.
Rural communities were described as ‘the toenails’ of the Victorian economy by the Liberal Kennett government, and services were ripped out of the regions.
I remind members that rural hospitals such as those at Macarthur, Clunes, Elmore, Mortlake, Lismore and Beeac — that is, at least eight — were shut and many others have been operating at a knife’s edge, I might say, given the cuts to their budgets.
We all want health services to be available to our families, whether we require operations, medical tests, obstetrics or rehabilitation. This is why it is important to ensure that Victorians, regardless of where they live — in metropolitan Melbourne or country Victoria — are not treated differently. Geographical distances should not and cannot be a deterrent. It is evident that the Bracks government is committed to health services and regional development in country Victoria.
We made an announcement during the election period that $90 million would be allocated to rebuilding the Warrnambool hospital.
I ask the minister to provide information on the current situation with respect to the rebuilding of the Warrnambool hospital.