Ms JODI McKAY ( Strathfield ) ( 17:54 ): I had high hopes for yesterday's budget. I had high hopes that this Government would finally listen to communities across the inner west and high hopes that the Government would finally see sense and realise that our community has been waiting too long for a twenty‑first century, state-of-the-art local hospital. I had high hopes the Government would finally take the advice of one of its own members and make the upgrades vital to Concord hospital a reality. Unfortunately, I was wrong; and once again the Premier, the Treasurer and the Minister for Health have sent a strong signal to our community—that even a possum invasion cannot shame them into keeping their own election promises.
Let us look at the facts when it comes to Concord hospital, one of the oldest and most dilapidated hospitals in the State. Just last year, figures revealed that 33 per cent of patients at the hospital wait longer than four hours in the emergency department. The figures also showed that in just 12 months the waiting time for elective surgery has ballooned. The hospital is completing fewer surgeries than it was at the same time last year. And there is a plethora of required maintenance—a backlog including leaking roofs and asbestos. And that does not even touch upon the hospital's latest tenant: a possum or two or three. Yes, that is right—even the fact that possums are now finding their way into Concord hospital was not enough to make this Government think the local community deserves better.
At the last election this Government told the community that they could trust a re-elected Liberal‑Nationals Government to turn around the trend and to invest in this local hospital. It promised $150 million. Of course, the total cost is actually more than $370 million, and that is what we committed at the last election. What happened to that money in the last budget? It went missing. It was nowhere to be found. What happened again yesterday? The Treasurer had the perfect opportunity to finally deliver on the Government's promise. But what did we see instead? We saw $11 million for future capital works at Campbelltown, Coffs Harbour, Inverell, Hornsby, Mudgee, Nepean and Concord hospitals. Since then, reports have suggested that Concord will receive only $700,000 for the planning of a future upgrade—not see the bricks and mortar, not the tradespeople, not the work and not the upgrades this hospital so desperately needs. So we will not see the actual building; instead we will just see drawings on a page.
The Government keeps telling us how great it is at managing the books, but anyone can tell you that $700,000 is a long way off $150 million. I understand that the Treasurer and the Minister for Health are probably not too keen to take just my advice on this issue. But they do not have to; they have only to turn around from the frontbench and look behind them to find the member for Drummoyne on the backbench. To give credit where credit is due, and I have said this before in this place, the member for Drummoyne has been a strong and consistent advocate for the redevelopment of Concord hospital. For the benefit of the Treasurer and the Minister for Health I will let them know exactly what he has said in this House, and I quote:
Despite repeated patch work and an expensive maintenance regime, the buildings continue to leak in wet weather. There is poor line of sight for safe and quality clinical care, undersized rooms, no central nurses' station, no family facilities and the inability to adapt any of the spaces to new functions.
He also said:
It's personal for me now and they've got to do it …
And there we have it—the state of Concord hospital laid bare in this place, in the community and in the media by a Government member of Parliament. Yet there has still been an abysmal failure to act by this Treasurer and the Minister for Health. Let us not forget that this monumental failure coincides with the Government's plan to increase density and radically increase the number of people living in our local community. I do not know if the Government has realised this, but these tens of thousands of people, primarily coming from the renewal of Parramatta Road, will require adequate Government services, including access to schools and hospitals.
The State Government is very keen to see thousands of additional people living in our local community, but its complete failure to include vital upgrades to Concord hospital proves yet again this is development by stealth. The community, represented in this place by the member for Drummoyne and I, has spoken very loudly on this issue. They want an upgrade to Concord hospital, they want it now and they are tired of this Government making excuses. The lack of commitment this Government has to Concord hospital is not just disappointing; it is dangerous and utterly irresponsible.