Group welcomes funds for hospital

The Byron Shire Health Services Community Action Group has welcomed news of the Coalition’s promise of $1m to go towards the shire’s new central hospital at Ewingsdale.

The spokesperson for the group, Rae Cooper, said the injection of the cash, dependent on the Coalition winning the March 26 poll, would see the planning process completed for the 54-bed hospital which will replace the Byron Bay and Mullumbimby hospitals.

“We seek assurance from the Coalition that over the term of the new government, capital funding will be assured to enable completion of the new Byron Shire Hospital which will see the Ewingsdale site become the health campus for Byron Shire residents and visitors,” she said.

“We urge our State and Federal representatives to consider the benefits for both Lismore Base and Tweed Heads hospitals when the Byron Shire Central Hospital can look after our own closer to home and thus reduce the load on both larger hospitals who are now required to provide those services which will be delivered locally when the new hospital is built.

“This will free up healthcare providers and facilities to enable more serious cases to be attended to in a more appropriate time frame.”

Ms Cooper noted that back in 2004, the then Health Minister, Morris Iemma, also made a ‘commitment to construct a new hospital’.

Meanwhile, submissions closed last week on the proposal to change the land use of the Ewingsdale site in the Byron Shire Local Environment Plan to allow the hospital to go ahead.

A total of 13 submissions were received, as well as a petition signed by 1300 people in favour of the land use change.

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