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Committee seeks clarity about GBH funding

Geoff Helisma

The NSW Government has not committed specific funds towards the $263.8million redevelopment of Grafton Base Hospital (GBH), despite Clarence Valley Council (CVC) writing to the Premier, Deputy Premier, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Medical Research and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, asking for the 2019 election promise to “be honoured and included in the 2020/21 state budget”.

The budget notes that $50million has been earmarked “for fast tracking health projects in Coraki, Grafton, Macksville, Manning, Lismore and Armidale”.

Meanwhile, the Grafton Base Hospital Community Committee (GBHC), which began its ‘Where’s the money Premier?’ campaign in June, says it will seek more information before commenting.

“We still have some concerns regarding the commitment made by government,” chair Ron Bell said.

“But we anticipate some of those concerns will be clarified once we’ve spoken with Mr Gulaptis.”

Mr Gulaptis said the details of how funding for the project is allocated are not straightforward.

“I’m not privy to all of funding commitment details,” he said.

“It’s complex and has to be worked through the Local Health District and the planning bodies involved in approving the project.

“It’s my understanding that there is $900million allocated towards regional health, which includes planning money for hospitals, but all of our health infrastructure commitments are all on track, as per our election commitments.”

He said that the Premier, Deputy Premier and Health Minister have all stated that the government will “honour its election commitments”, including GBH.

Mr Gulaptis said the $50million to “fast track health projects” is a part of the $900million he nominated.

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