A new West Gippsland Hospital estimated to cost more than $300 million will be built if a Coalition state government is elected.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy was in Warragul on Friday to announce the Coalition’s commitment to a new hospital on a greenfield site at Drouin East.
He said the debate between a rebuild on the existing site versus a new hospital had gone on for long enough and the local community deserved a firm commitment.
If elected, Mr Guy said he was confident a Coalition government could afford the massive investment, estimated to cost between $280 million and $350 million.
Mr Guy said the Coalition’s commitment was about giving the community security to know a new hospital would be built.
He said they believed the greenfield site at Drouin East was the best location for new facilities and easily accessible to Drouin and Warragul.
Mr Guy said final costs would not be known until design and building plans were completed but the important first step was deciding on a new hospital as opposed to a rebuild.
“The government is playing games with people’s health in West Gippsland and if the government won’t get on with it (new hospital), then we will,” he said.
West Gippsland Healthcare Group board chairman Jane Leslie welcomed the commitment, and now hopes it gets bi-partisan support once the government’s current feasibility study is completed next month.
The board purchased 26 hectares of land at on the north east corner of Lardners Trk and Princes Way in 2007.
Ms Leslie said masterplan work undertaken by the board demonstrated support for a new hospital on the greenfield site rather than redevelopment of the current Landsborough Rd site.
She said staff were working in onerous conditions in an ageing building and the need for new facilities had never been more critical.