The need for additional funding for health services in the Benambra electorate has been ignored in today’s state budget, independent candidate Jacqui Hawkins said today.
Jacqui, who came within 2000 votes of unseating sitting member Bill Tilley at the last State election said Albury Wodonga health services were being ignored, and was disappointed by the lack of cash allocated to regional and rural health services in the State Budget.
‘I am disappointed in this budgets response to health in Benambra. Despite being a large health budget, we’ve still have missed out,” Jacqui said.
During the State election campaign Border medicos penned a letter to voters urging them to make Benambra a marginal electorate and push for health funding. Their concerns were repeated on both sides of the at Border in the Federal election which saw Helen Haines elected to succeed Cathy McGowan in Indi and Sussan Ley fight off a challenge by Kevin Mack in Farrer.
“Despite the clear need, I am concerned the lack of voice for Benambra in Spring Street is seeing Albury-Wodonga Health which provides valuable services to local and regional residents miss out.”
“Albury Wodonga Health was expecting capital investment by Victorian State Government to match co contributions for their emergency and intensive care unit.”
“During the state election we made health one of our key priorities, and the public response was overwhelming.”
“Albury-Wodonga Health has over 60,000 presentations, and one of the busiest maternity units, but gets a fraction of the funding in comparison to Ballarat or Bendigo. It seems the further away from Melbourne you go, the funding dries up.”
Jacqui said that Local Governments in Benambra have also been holding out for the Victorian State budget to obtain funding for a range of services. Among those were Towong Shire looking for funding for the Upper Murray Events Centre to support the growing Man From Snowy River Festival and local events and Wodonga Council for Baranduda fields.
Jacqui called the funding for trains a marginal seat outcome and commended BRAG, and the local community after $340 million was announced for 18 new VLocity trains where train between Albury and Melbourne a priority.
Contact Jacqui Hawkins: 0403 657 267
photo credit: PETER MERKESTEYN, Border Mail