Armidale Rural Referral Hospital

10th September 2015

Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) [12.55 p.m.]: It gives me some pleasure to stand on this side of the House and contribute to debate on the motion moved by the member for Northern Tablelands, my friend Adam Marshall. The motion thanks the Minister for Health and the Deputy Premier for this very significant investment in the member's electorate. I can only begin to imagine how pleased the member must be about that commitment. But it is not only the member who is pleased; his electorate and the greater region serviced by the Armidale hospital will have much better health facilities from this investment in that community by the Government.

The member for Northern Tablelands mentioned that this is an ongoing issue that was commenced and taken up well by the former member, Richard Torbay. But it is the current member who has taken up advocacy on the issue and prosecuted it to its completion, so a great deal of credit goes to him. The member for Northern Tablelands mentioned a number of other bodies and people who were involved in this project, including the hospital auxiliary. Unusually, the member did not name all the members of the Armidale hospital auxiliary; I am sure there are many of them. These are very dedicated people who give up a lot of time to undertake the work of the auxiliary, and I wish to acknowledge them. But there are other players in the game. Of course, the Hunter New England Local Health District covers my area as well, and areas such as the Lower Hunter, Lake Macquarie and all the way up to the border area of the Northern Tablelands. I acknowledge the efforts and commitment of the chief executive officer, Michael Di Rienzo, to deliver this project on behalf of the Government; but I recognise also the contribution of the local manager, Catharine Death, who was referred to a number of times by the member for Northern Tablelands.

It must be wonderful for this community to know that if they, their children or their loved ones are in need of hospital care they will have a modern facility that will meet the expectations of the growing Northern Tablelands community, ensuring that they will have new, modern facilities such as the new emergency centre, new operating theatres—they are so important, particularly in light of health issues associated with infections from surgical procedures—as well as community health facilities and a range of other services delivered at the hospital. I support the motion moved by the member for Northern Tablelands, and I acknowledge the investment by the Government, and particularly the work of the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, in delivering for this community.

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