By Luke Voogt
Local MP Simon Ramsay has slammed the State Government’s “failure” to begin construction on a Norlane health centre scheduled for completion this year.
“Not one shovel of dirt has been moved on the project,” the Member for Western Victoria said.
“2017 is nearly over and they are still arguing the toss about some planning issues.”
In response Health Minister Jill Hennessy on Wednesday told the Indy construction would begin this month.
But in 2015 Ms Hennessy announced the government would build the $33 million Barwon Health North facility by 2017.
“Barwon Health North has become another example of this government’s failure to keep its promises,” Mr Ramsay said.
“Like other Geelong projects, such as the convention centre … the local community has been failed by the Andrews Government.”
Mr Ramsay said Geelong had a desperate need for the facility.
“With ambulances backing up and an ageing population – this health facility is overdue.
“Add to that, Geelong’s higher than state average obesity rate and the implications with type two diabetes, this region is in need of better health services and access.”
Mr Ramsay accused the government of being too Melbourne-centric.
“It cannot get things done – certainly not on time, certainly not on budget and certainly not when it is too busy buying Green votes in Melbourne.“
But Ms Hennessey said “land sale and access” access issues had prevented construction until this month.
“Having now finalised these issues, including with council, works on the project are kick-starting this month.“
Ms Hennessey was in Geelong on Tuesday to open a new surgery hub at Geelong hospital.
About 50 patients a day would pass through the $6.38m hub, which included 12 holding bays and 11 recovery bays, she said.
“We are investing in Victoria’s health system and building important projects – like the one here in Geelong – so that all Victorians get the quality health care they need.”
The former “tired and out-of-date” facilities were unable to cope with the volume of patients coming through for day surgery preparation, Ms Hennessey said.
There was also no second stage recovery area, so day stay patients were transferred to another department for their recovery, she added.
The surgery hub is part of a $93.2 million major upgrade of University Hospital Geelong.
The first stage is now complete and stages two to four will provide the hospital with new staff amenities, enhanced sterile store and equipment store capabilities and office meeting rooms.