With a focus on transport and education, the major parties seems to have left health on the back-burner during the 2018 State Election campaign.
The sting was taken out of Ballarat’s health concerns almost five months before the election campaign when the Andrews Labor Government announced $461.6 million in the May budget to completely rebuild and redevelop Ballarat Base Hospital.
But since the May 1 announcement, there has been little Ballarat-specific health funding from either party.
The Liberals made their own hospital announcement in October with a $100 million promise to redevelop Maryborough Hospital according to its recently completed masterplan, should it win government on November 24.
The upgrade, the largest since Maryborough Hospital was built, will include a new full-sized theatre and day procedure theatre, birthing suites, dialysis room, urgent care and radiology and other services, which will help meet demand for health services and reduce the need for patients to travel to Ballarat or Bendigo for treatment.
Labor also announced a a cutting-edge $1.3 million CT scanner for Maryborough District Health Service to speed up the time it takes doctors to make a diagnosis.
More cutting-edge medical research is on the cards for Ballarat after the Andrews Labor Government backed a new collaborative health research centre – the Ballarat Innovation and Research Collaboration in Health (BIRCH) project with a $300,000 grant to create research and job opportunities for science, medical, allied health and nursing graduates and students.
Both sides of politics agree mental health is a state-wide issue with broad announcements that will impact Ballarat.
See what’s on offer at this State Election with our wrap-up coverage on key areas and key promises:
Premier Daniel Andrews promised a royal commission in to mental health would be held within 100 days of a Labor re-election to shine a spotlight on a system which many advocates, families, sufferers and medical experts have described as ‘broken’. He also announced a fully funded $51.2 million injection to support mental health in schools.
Shadow minister for mental health Emma Kealy promised $1.14 million in grants over four years for headspace to provide outreach services to communities in regional Victoria to support youth experiencing mental health or drug and alcohol issues.
The Liberals also vowed to ease the cost of accessing specialist healthcare for regional Victorians with increases in the reimbursement rates for the Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme, increasing the nightly accommodation rate from $45 to $60 and the cents per kilometre rate to 25c.
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