The long-running campaign to redevelop the Bright Hospital and build a new aged care facility is closer to reality, after the state opposition backed the project and the federal government also laid out pathways to provide funding. The commitments came at a roundtable on Tuesday hosted by Helen Haines, Tania Maxwell, and Tim McCurdy, and attended by seven members of the federal and Victorian parliaments.
The Victorian Shadow Treasurer, David Davis, told the roundtable that the Victorian opposition committed $15 million to redevelop the Bright Hospital in 2014 and remained committed to the project.
David Gillespie, the federal Minister for Rural Health said that while he could not give specific commitments of funding, the federal government will soon open applications for some $80 million in grants for aged care facilities.
A representative of Greg Hunt, the federal Minister for Health, said that new funding models being developed in the wake of the Aged Care Royal Commission also opened up “new possibilities” to fund Bright’s proposed redevelopment.
Dr Haines commended the commitment of the Victorian opposition and called on their federal Liberal counterparts to follow suit:
“The Victorian Liberals have already put funding on the table for Bright. I’m calling on the federal Liberals to match their state counterparts in backing this proposal.”
“There is an opportunity for the federal government to make this a dedicated line item in the Budget they are preparing for March. What a fantastic vote of confidence that would be in the community of Bright if they put funding on the table in this Budget.”
Tania Maxwell, the state Member for Northern Victoria, said the collaborative campaign was essential to the growth of the Bright community:
“I welcome the collaboration shown this morning to bring Alpine Health’s Bright Health Precinct plan to reality. This is at the heart of Alpine Health’s staged redevelopment plan for Bright hospital. It also includes refurbished hospital, community and allied health services, adaptation of Bright’s aged low care residential facility for use by the Alpine Institute of Health for nurse education, and a co-located private medical centre.”
“I’ll be working with Tim McCurdy and my state colleagues to encourage Victoria’s Aged Care Minister Anthony Carbines MP, Health Minister Martin Foley MP and Treasurer Tim Pallas to support this far-sighted, community-building plan. The opposition already recognises the plan’s value”.
Tim McCurdy, the state Member for Ovens Valley, said he would continue to advocate for state government funding for the project:
“I am very passionate about the Bright community and I will leave no stone unturned to improve the health outcomes and the aged care outcomes for residents of Bright. The Nationals committed to this essential infrastructure in 2014 but unfortunately we did not win Government”.
“I will lobby the Victorian Labor government to help us fund this important local requirement. We simply must look after our elderly and our sick within a local setting.”
Dr Haines said the meeting was successful.
“The people of Bright and surrounds want to see governments working together to find solutions, and we started that on Tuesday.”