United front for a new hospital for West Gippsland
Published on 25 November 2021
Advocacy for a new hospital in West Gippsland has reached a key milestone with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Baw Baw Shire Council and West Gippsland Healthcare Group (WGHG).
The agreement formalises Council’s and WGHG’s commitment to work together and collaboratively plan and deliver the proposed future construction of a new $500 million hospital at the already-acquired 23.6-hectare greenfield site on Lardners Track in Drouin East.
The landmark strategic partnership was signed by Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Michael Leaney and WGHG Board Chair Christine Holland on Thursday 25 November at a WGHG board meeting. Council endorsed its support for the agreement at its Wednesday 10 November Council Meeting.
It is well understood and acknowledged by Council, WGHG and our community that the existing West Gippsland Hospital is a vital asset struggling to keep up with demand and regional population growth.
With rapid population growth putting a strain on existing medical services in the area, there is a strong case for significant investment in a new hospital. A case, further supported with a well-positioned greenfield site already acquired and available for immediate development.
Through the MoU, Council and WGHG agree to not only advocate for funding, but to also progress and resolve planning, zoning and urban design matters such as integration with the existing road and public transport networks, provision of public open space and pedestrian/bike links.
Pending commitment of funding in the 2022/23 State Government budget, both parties will commit to collaboration on formal consultation and community engagement and assist each other in the successful delivery of the project.
Although not legally binding, the MoU has been entered into in the spirit of achieving the best outcomes for the growing community of West Gippsland.
Quote attributable to Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Michael Leaney
“Our current hospital, despite the outdated and cramped facilities, punches well above its weight and does a wonderful job to care for our community. We all know however that it is struggling to keep up with our population growth and overwhelming demand for health services. The maternity ward alone delivers close to 1,000 babies each year and demand is increasing. A new hospital is undoubtedly the single most important piece of State Government infrastructure that our rapidly growing region requires. With 26 hectares of prime-positioned land ready to go, all that is required now is the funding to build this facility.”
Quote attributable to WGHG Board Chair Christine Holland
“The WGHG Board is very grateful for the open and public support that we are receiving from Baw Baw Shire Council through the signing of this MOU. This is a commitment in our shared interest and care for the health and well-being of the West Gippsland community.
The Board is also grateful that the Victorian Government has funded all the planning work involved in developing a Business Case. The Business Case has been refreshed and reflects the learnings from COVID-19, current infrastructure and service demand. We are all ready to go and hoping for bi-partisan support for a new hospital for West Gippsland as a priority ahead of the 2022 State election.”
WGHG CEO Dan Weeks, WGHG Board Chair Christine Holland, Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Michael Leaney and Baw Baw Shire CEO Mark Dupe
Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Michael Leaney signing MoU