Wodonga Council

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Wodonga Council’s Mayor and CEO meet with Victorian Minister for Health

7 Jun, 2024

Wodonga Council’s CEO Matthew Hyde and Mayor Cr Ron Mildren met with Victorian Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas on Tuesday, June 4.

The Mayor said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss concerns relating to the Albury Wodonga Regional Health Service and hospital redevelopment, as well as to offer solutions that will contribute to a better health service for the Albury Wodonga region.

“We appreciate the Minister taking the time to meet with us and we acknowledge the challenges facing this project,” he said.

“This meeting granted us the opportunity to discuss several key issues, including cost escalations, geotechnical and access matters, the adequacy of the infrastructure, service delivery model, defence medic opportunities and the capacity for co-location with an education and research centre.

“Further, we used the time to strongly urge the Minister to reconsider the department’s current position of proceeding with the existing site.”

The meeting came more than 18 months after the New South Wales and Victorian governments announced they would be jointly funding the redevelopment of the Albury base hospital.

In the time since, the council has sought clarity on the business case that supported this proposal and advocated for a new, purpose-built, single-site hospital.

“It is a major concern of the council that aspects of the proposed redevelopment have not been adequately considered or costed,” said Cr Mildren.

“During the meeting, the Minister expressed doubts around the veracity of the information provided to the council and committed to supplying accurate data to inform our ongoing position.

“What we know is that the Albury Wodonga Health Clinical Service Plan 2021 forecasted population growth of nearly 30,000 people by 2040 and a doubling of emergency department presentations to 150,000.

“It is our belief that the evidence for increased healthcare services is clear and that the only way to deliver the outcome our community needs is through a purpose-built, single-site hospital that has the capacity to service our region’s rapidly growing population.  

“The existing proposal may deliver a hospital but we don’t believe it sufficiently considers the project as a whole – it’s more than just a single building; the ramifications of not getting this right will be felt throughout our community, in both the adequacy of our health services but also in the physical infrastructure needed to support the project.

“We have a unique opportunity to establish a stronger, better resourced and fully integrated cross border health service - we cannot let this opportunity pass us by.

“We thank the Minister for her time and look forward to continued dialogue on the hospital.”

For more on the council’s hospital advocacy, please visit the council’s advocacy page.

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