NSW health minister Jillian Skinner unveiled detailed plans for the new $80 million Byron Central Hospital, now on display, when she visited the Ewingsdale site yesterday. week.
Mrs Skinner was joined by Ballina MP Don Page during the visit to the site to mark progress on the project. Earthworks are expected to start there in the coming months.
In the 2014-15 state budget, the NSW government committed $1.5 million to begin construction of the project.
Mrs Skinner said plans for the new Byron Central Hospital are now on display at Byron Shire Council and through the Department of Planning and Infrastructure website until Friday 19 September.
‘This project has been a labour of love for both local MP Don Page and members of the Byron community for many years,’ Mrs Skinner said.
‘It is anticipated the new Byron Central Hospital will provide emergency services, acute medical beds, low-risk maternity services following the same model currently delivered at Mullumbimby, a new 20-bed mental health unit and X-ray and medical imaging facilities.
‘It’s wonderful to be able to visit the site of the new hospital to demonstrate the NSW government’s support for this long-awaited project, which will modernise the delivery of health care to this region.
‘Don Page and the local community have campaigned tirelessly for the new hospital for many years and I have fond memories of meeting with them at Byron to hear about their hopes for the site.
‘The NSW government is absolutely committed to ensuring rural and regional communities have access to quality health services and the construction of the new hospital forms part of this commitment.
‘The building of a new hospital is no small feat and I look forward to marking more milestones on this project.’
Mr Page said he was incredibly proud to see local campaigns and support for a new hospital have paid off.
‘The community has never given up on its dream of new hospital for this area and I’ve been steadfast in my support to ensure a new hospital for Byron has been on the government’s agenda,’ he said.
‘The new hospital will have the capacity to care for our community for years to come. It will provide state-of-the-art equipment and attract more clinicians, which is good news for local residents.
‘The Byron Central Hospital will also be co-located with the new ambulance station which has been providing fantastic care for the community since it opened in 2012.
‘Hospitals are at the very heart of their communities and the care and comfort provided by both Byron and Mullumbimby hospitals has been first rate. I thank the staff at both facilities for the support they have given patients and their loved ones over the years.’
While visiting northern NSW, minister Skinner also toured Ballina Hospital with Mr Page and federal Page MP Kevin Hogan.
‘I acknowledge the federal government’s investment of $4.5 million to upgrade Ballina Hospital and appreciate their commitment to redevelop this facility,’ Mrs Skinner said.
‘I’m pleased to see investment in Ballina Hospital which has been providing first-class care to its community for decades. As a result of Federal Government funding staff will soon be able to deliver this care in a first-class facility.’
Mr Page welcomed the federal government’s investment in Ballina Hospital.
‘Ballina cares for more than 9,000 patients every year and I join staff in their excitement to see funding allocated to enhance the hospital,’ he said.