Even with the state’s finances on life support, regional communities rightly expect the Andrews Labor Government to prioritise investment into our healthcare services.
Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. It’s never too much to demand adequate services and infrastructure in our communities, and the regions have been neglected for far too long.
This is a crisis that touches every inch of Victoria. If the Premier needs directions to get beyond Melbourne’s tram tracks, he can look to Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton, Bairnsdale Hospital in Gippsland, Swan Hill Hospital along the Murray River, and Hamilton Hospital in the Wimmera – all of which need urgent funding to begin or complete redevelopments.
Or, in the state’s north-west, the Mildura Base Public Hospital Masterplan has been locked in a vault and kept secret by Mr Andrews for more than a year, stalling urgent investment in the region’s main healthcare service.
Smaller investments are just as important to our quality of life. Benalla needs funding for four dialysis chairs, Euroa Health is in urgent need of ongoing funding, Lifeline Gippsland needs additional funding to meet increased demand, and aged care services – such as in Bright or Numurkah – need urgent investment to support our senior citizens.
Cruel cuts to community health services have already been announced by the Andrews Labor Government, and important infrastructure projects are being delayed to prop up a sinking budget that has maxed out the public’s credit card.
This budget will be a shocker, but regional healthcare services must be prioritised, especially after years of ongoing neglect.