If the NSW government is serious about the redevelopment of Armidale Hospital it needs to prove it by prioritising the work and applying for the federal funding which is on offer.
The brinkmanship the health minister, Jillian Skinner, displayed a few weeks ago by declaring the O’Farrell government would commit $10m towards the project on the proviso that the federal government provides the remaining $50m does nothing to advance this project.
The government has been caught out saying one thing and doing another.
The facts are there is no application for funding before the federal government which meets the criteria of the Health and Hospital Fund. There is no finalised redevelopment plan. And without both the project will not proceed.
The state government is trying to blame the federal government for the project not advancing. While the federal government can be blamed for a lot of shortcomings, it is not the guilty party in this case.
As the member for New England has said, the Armidale community deserves a full explanation.
Where does Armidale Hospital sit on the NSW schedule for federal government funding? How many and which hospitals are in front of it? When will the redevelopment plan be completed and when will it be released publicly?
When will the application, which meets the criteria of the fund, be made? And what is the time frame for the redevelopment? When will work start and when will work be completed?
They are all reasonable questions waiting for answers.
Tamworth hospital was going to be redeveloped by the previous NSW government but it never happened and back then the Opposition (now the government) complained about the lack of action.
It now finds itself in a similar situation, but on the other side of the argument .
But in this case it can fix the problem very easily.