Tamworth "desperately" needs a new ambulance station, but local paramedics may have to wait a little longer to get one.
On Tuesday, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson fired the starting gun on a campaign for a replacement for the 94-year-old Marius Street station, formally writing to the Minister for Health Brad Hazzard asking for an upgrade.
Tamworth's city station is so old it can barely fit an ambulance, leaks in heavy rain and hasn't had an upgrade in two decades.
"The Tamworth ambulance station just isn't up to scratch," Mr Anderson said.
But he refused to put a timeline on when he expects Mr Hazzard to make a commitment to a new build.
"I dropped the correspondence into the minister's office [on Tuesday], and let them know this is a priority of mine. As they have done previously when I've gone to them on issues, they're always keen to listen to what I have to say when I speak on behalf of my community," he said.
"It's difficult to put a time on it at this stage because we're right at the very start. My focus is to make sure that it gets on the radar and in the thought process of the NSW Minister for Health. When he's thinking about allocating money I want him to allocate money for Tamworth."
Mr Anderson resisted pressure to make an election commitment for a new ambulance station before the 2019 state election.
But in an interview on Wednesday he said the "time is right" now.
"Nothing's ever easy. When you want something you've got to fight hard for it. When you think about the amount of ambulance stations across NSW; everybody is screaming for money, I've just got to scream a bit louder than others."
The MP said the new station should be built to accommodate growth in ambulance staff as the city of Tamworth grows, and should be substantial enough to accommodate staff training locally. And it will be built on a "greenfield" site - a new plot, not over the existing, heritage-listed, building.
One option is to close both Tamworth City and the South Tamworth stations and rehouse every local ambulance officer in a single mega-station. Mr Anderson said it's too early to know if that's the best option.
Australian Paramedics Association President Chris Kastelan said the union welcomed Mr Anderson's commitment to a new station and agreed conditions are "completely unacceptable"
"Paramedics work exceptionally hard under challenging and strenuous conditions, and a functioning, fit-for-purpose station is the very least that their employer should provide them with," he said.
"As we move toward a new station for Tamworth it is absolutely crucial that the voices of paramedics be front and centre on issues such as station layout, capacity, and whether to consolidate the two existing stations."
Mr Anderson first floated the idea of an upgrade in an end-of-year interview with the Leader in December, identifying the campaign as a priority for 2021.
He said his office had already been inundated with correspondence from the community backing the campaign.