Illawarra Labor MP’s have helped to successfully deliver new health care facilities in the Illawarra after the Berejiklian Government finally agreed to build a brand-new replacement for Shellharbour Hospital.
The Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard MP, were in the region to announce that a new Shellharbour Hospital will be built on a greenfield site.
In welcoming the announcement, Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson said “I’ve been lobbying for improved services at Shellharbour Hospital since I was first elected in 2011, because it’s what my community needs and deserves”.
“It has taken the Berejiklian Government a very long time to work out that this new facility is what our region needed, but I am excited to finally see this project get off the ground.”
Shadow Minister for Health and Shadow Minister for Illawarra and South Coast, Ryan Park said, “This new facility will be very welcome by communities living in the southern part of the Illawarra.”
“It has been a long time coming but it is a testament to the efforts of Anna Watson and the local community who fought so hard to stop the privatisation of this new facility.”
Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said “My Parliamentary colleagues and I have been working with the Minister for new health care facilities for many months.”
“We appreciate that the Berejiklian Government has finally listened and agreed with Labor that we need a new hospital for the southern Illawarra.”
“I look forward to the start of building this new health facility and its integration into the local health care network, which now also includes the new Bulli Hospital, which will support our growing population and take some of the pressure off the main regional Wollongong Hospital” he said.
In 2015, the NSW Government made a re-election promise to invest $251 million dollars and fully fund the upgrade of Shellharbour Public Hospital.
In September 2016, it was revealed by the then Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, that this upgrade would only take place under a public-private partnership model instead. This decision was made without any prior consultation and was met with huge community opposition.
A hard fought community campaign to keep Shellharbour Hospital in public hands eventually resulted in a backflip by the Berejiklian Government on its public-private proposal for Shellharbour Hospital in October 2017.
An additional $128 million of funding was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison prior to the Federal Election in 2019, for the redevelopment of Shellharbour Hospital.
At the time, questions were raised about the suitability of the current hospital site at Shellharbour for such an expansion, or whether a new greenfield site should be acquired instead.