LOCAL man Rod Kelly has accused MP Pru Goward and the state government of dragging the chain on Goulburn Base Hospital’s upgrade.
What was a pre-election commitment has become mired in bureaucracy and process, he says.
“The hospital is not negotiable,” Mr Kelly told the Post.
“It needs to be upgraded or replaced but I don’t think I’ll see it under Pru Goward’s term,” he said.
“I don’t want to be a doomsayer but based on the information, I can’t see it happening. We were told it would be in this term.”
Mr Kelly is incensed by the MP’s latest newsletter. It informs constituents that the hospital’s redevelopment is in its early stages and “progressing well.”
“The preliminary business case is due for completion in the next month, with market sounding by the end of the year and the final business case due by mid 2016,” it states.
Mr Kelly is astounded the process is taking so long but also questions the need for such lengthy investigations.
“I’m not au fait with government departments but I just ask why that statement would be put to people,” he said.
“What does it mean? I wouldn’t think a hospital upgrade, that was said to be so important before the election, would need a business case.”
But Ms Goward has defended the process as necessary.
Mr Kelly said the average person would also have no idea what “market soundings” meant. Ms Goward did not respond to this in questions posed by the Post.
The North Goulburn man, who says he has no political affiliations, said he’d been told by the MP’s office there had been no decision yet on whether the existing site would be upgraded or a greenfield site chosen.
“I don’t know how you can have a business plan if you don’t know what you’re doing,” he said.
As such, he questioned how the $120m commitment was worked out.
The Southern NSW Health District previously confirmed the business case would assess “various models of health service delivery, workforce strategies, the redevelopment of the existing Base Hospital site and the alternative of a greenfield site.”
It would consider not just physical buildings but existing and broader health services in the community, identifying any already supplied.
Mr Kelly contended the approach was at odds with Ms Goward’s pre-election pamphlets stating the work was “fully costed.” It implied there was a scope of work and the government could “make it fly.”
“I understand politicians tell us things before the election but this is too important,” he said.
“The hospital only holds together because of the goodwill and dedication of the staff...They are battling against crumbling infrastructure.
“...To me this is the single most important piece of infrastructure Goulburn’s had a chance of getting in the 14 years I’ve been here.”
Consequently, he argued Council should also be arguing much harder and pressuring Ms Goward to hasten the project.
Mr Kelly said he was disappointed in the newsletter and believed the average person wouldn’t be able to make “hide nor hair” of it either.
“If that’s what we get for an update, it’s not good enough,” he said.
Mr Kelly told the Post he wouldn’t let up on the issue.