CONSTITUENCY STATEMENTS: Riverina Electorate: Health Services

Mr McCormack (Riverina) (10:12): I rise today to say that last Friday I had the absolute pleasure to officially open the Temora Medical Complex in Hoskins Street. This was the realisation of a six-year dream for Temora, and no-one worked harder for that facility's opening than the new Mayor of Temora Shire Council, Councillor Rick Firman, in his capacity as a councillor and as deputy mayor before the last election as well as in his role as the chairman of the council's Health Strategies Committee.

The project came in on time and under budget, and it came about as a result of funding as part of the fourth round of the government's National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program, where the government provided $501,500. I thank the government for that funding, as well as the state coalition government for providing $2½ million. As I say, it was the result of six years of hard work and dedication by the Temora Shire Council, which is a very progressive council. Council's Kris Dunstan managed the project, and the general manager, Gary Lavelle, in conjunction with the former mayor, Councillor Peter Speirs, worked very diligently to ensure that the dream became a reality.

All those at the opening, after the actual curtain pulling, could not help but be impressed by the exceptional layout and standard of the new centre, which incorporates consultation rooms, specialist rooms, on-site pathology, on-site parking, an ambulance docking area and a marvellous training facility. Training is so important in rural and regional areas because we not only need to attract doctors to the bush; we also need to retain them. So recruitment is important but retention is absolutely vital. Anybody who comes from regional areas certainly knows that health is one of the big gaps in service provision, so I am pleased to say that there are a number of exciting projects in the Riverina: the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital is being rebuilt, the Griffith Hospital private-public partnership has $11.3 million worth of funding and there has been $6 million for the Hillston multipurpose centre. Things are happening, and it is great. There are initiatives at the moment to get a rural medical school at Wagga Wagga, with both Charles Sturt University and the University of New South Wales working hard to achieve something there. Very great congratulations go to Temora, the builders NW Bland and Sons and all others who had a part in that complex. (Time expired)

Cristy Houghton