Budget key to new shire hospital at Ewingsdale
AFTER a 30-year wait, the lobby group fighting for a centralised hospital in the Byron Shire will be keeping a close eye on the NSW State budget on September 6.
Tony McCabe, a spokesperson from the Byron Shire Health Services Community Action Group, said he wasn't expecting the full $1m promised for the hospital planning to be forked out by the treasurer.
And NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner wasn't giving anything away when she met with group representatives last week, saying funding announcements were only going to be made on budget night.
But Mr McCabe said Ms Skinner was very supportive of the need for the proposed 54-bed centralised hospital at Ewingsdale.
While Ms Skinner maintained a poker face, Mr McCabe said he was hopeful some money would be allocated in this year's budget to get the ball rolling on the long-awaited health facility.
Chief executive of the Northern NSW Health Network, Chris Crawford, told the meeting that planning for the hospital would take at least two years.
Mr McCabe said the centralised hospital for Byron Shire was first recommended by the then NSW Health Commission back in 1992. The proposed 54-bed hospital will replace Byron Bay and Mullumbimby hospitals.
"Our catchcry is 'look after our own closer to home',"; Mr McCabe said.
"We don't want to be an impost on Lismore or Tweed.";