November 22, 2011  |  Member's Statement

Ballarat Base Hospital: helipad

From my very first day as a member of Parliament, I have been determined to see a helipad built at  the Ballarat base hospital. It has been my job  to  make sure that the  government does not let this  important project drop down its list of priorities, despite the fact that this seems to be exactly what the Baillieu government and the Minister for Health are  determined to do.

This  government chose not to provide  in the budget this  year any money for the helipad. Despite the Premier’s claim in the  week  following  the budget that the helipad  was funded in the out years, there was not one cent set aside. Instead the Baillieu  government decided to set  up a committee.  That committee recently released its report, and it is underwhelming — including pictures,  it is a report of just 12 pages  in  length. Twelve pages for eight months work  is the simple proof  that this report is nothing  more than an attempt  to cover up the government’s failure to deliver a helipad.

It  took eight months of discussions to arrive right back where we  started. The report narrows the options for a helipad site to four — options that were known at least 12 months ago.

I congratulate the community members and service provider representatives on the committee  on their  dedication  to  bringing a  helipad  to  the Ballarat  base hospital. Their  commitment is devalued by  the government’s lack of action. The report’s conclusion sums it all up:

The  working  group  has  identified  four  options  that  should  be  further  investigated in detail  by  the Department  of  Health to secure  the  optimum  location for a helipad.

This report, which  was  so  eagerly  awaited  by the people of Ballarat, simply concluded that the siting of the helipad needs further investigation.

This manipulation and delay is just not good enough.