MEDIA STATEMENT

July 13, 2021

Dr Helen Haines MP, Independent Federal Member for Indi, has met with the Assistant Minister for Regional Development Nola Marino to encourage the Government to make headway on the Albury Wodonga Regional Deal.

“The Regional Deal is an exciting and historic opportunity to encourage investment in our region and have a transformative impact for decades to come, particularly in health” she said.

“I had a productive meeting with the Assistant Minister where we discussed the status of the ongoing deal negotiations and how important it is to get it right.”

The Government announced plans for a Regional Deal for Albury Wodonga on 20 March 2019 and had intended to finalise negotiations and sign the deal by mid-2021. The Assistant Minister revealed in the meeting that the deal is now unlikely to be signed before the end of the year.

“As a community independent on the border, I fully appreciate the work required to get local and state governments of all stripes around the table with communities to identify funding priorities. I know that our local community leaders have entered into the process with enthusiasm and integrity.”

“I know many in the community will be disappointed about the delay in signing the deal.”

“It’s an important deal that the Government must get it right. The Albury Wodonga community is ready and waiting for game changing investment.”

Dr Haines has frequently called for a world-class single site hospital for Albury Wodonga.

“My message to Assistant Minister Marino was that a new world-class hospital in Albury Wodonga should be a high priority in the Regional Deal that all levels of Government can get behind.

“Within 15 years the population of the Albury-Wodonga region will grow by a third.

“By 2040 we’ll need a hospital capable of handling 150,000 emergency presentations, 40,000 surgeries and 1,900 births every year.

“This means we will need a larger hospital, at a single site, with more capacity and more specialist facilities. The care we need, close to home.

“Our community deserves no less.”

Dr Haines will continue to work constructively with the Government to ensure progress is made on the Albury Wodonga Regional Deal.

“The community on the border in Albury Wodonga has been hit hard in the past 18 months, particularly by the COVID-19 border closures. The Regional Deal is part of ensuring a bright future for the region, which is something I will always fight for.”