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CVC supports Iluka and Grafton health infrastructure proposals

Geoff Helisma | Clarence Valley Council (CVC) will write to the Premier, Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and the Member for Clarence to express its support for: the Iluka’s community’s campaign to build an ambulance station in the town; and, the redevelopment of Grafton Base Hospital. Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis is a strong advocate for both proposals, having facilitated Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s promise to provide an answer in person to the Iluka community before Christmas, and he is leading and facilitating a community campaign to secure $263.8million in funding to redevelop the hospital. The Northern NSW Local Health District rates the hospitals’ redevelopment as its top priority. Mayor Jim Simmons gained unanimous support from his fellow councillors to write to the MPs at last week’s November 20 council meeting. On the hospital, Cr Simmons wrote in his mayoral minute: “The hospital plays an important role in providing for the majority of acute health needs for the Clarence Valley residents and with the building of the new correctional centre is in serious need of expansion to meet the increasing demands of its services and the growing population of the Clarence Valley.” Regarding the ambulance station, Cr Simmons wrote, in part: “In 2016/17 the NSW Government reported ambulances on average responded to critically life threatening incidents within 8 minutes and potentially life threatening incidents within 12 minutes. “Obviously in Iluka this is impossible to achieve, as the closest ambulance is in Maclean, around 30 minutes away at speed. “Iluka presently has a population of around 1,800, with over 42 per cent of the population aged over 60, making medical emergencies more prevalent than areas with younger populations. “Iluka is expected grow by at least another 500 people within the next few years if the new subdivision is approved. “There are very few towns of this size in Australia without an ambulance station. “Given the large relatively isolated population in Iluka, which triples during peak holiday season, it’s critical an ambulance station is provided as soon as possible.”