Coast MPs weigh in on Bundy v Fraser hospital debate
THE Fraser Coast's two Labor state MPs won't stand in the way of a Level 5 hospital being built in Bundaberg.
Instead, they've talked up other health services with one telling Councillor David Lee to "stick to looking after his own role in Local Government".
It comes after Cr Lee flagged serious concerns poor planning had led to capacity issues at Hervey Bay Hospital and a focus on building the best hospital at Bundaberg risked the safety of local patients in the future.
He wanted local leaders to join him in advocating for the upgraded services to be prioritised on the Fraser Coast which had a greater projected population increase and was better suited geographically for a Level 5 hospital.
Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said it was a given that he wanted to advocate for the best possible facilities for the city as he had been elected to represent the interests of Hervey Bay "but the commitment has been given to build a hospital in Bundaberg".
Mr Tantari acknowledged rapid growth was expected in Hervey Bay in coming decades but said the State Government had made significant investments in health care in the Bay, including the $39 million upgrade of the hospital's emergency department, plans to build a $40 million mental health unit in the city and the building of a new ambulance station.
"The argument about missing out on health services is a moot point," Mr Tantari said.
That did not mean he wouldn't be advocating for further upgrades and new facilities in the future.
Mr Tantari said health services offered in Hervey Bay and Maryborough were designed to complement one another.
"David Lee needs to stick to looking after his role as local government councillor and let the State Government do what it has to do," he said.
Cr Lee however was adamant he had an important role to play in calling for more of a debate about the best location for a Level 5 hospital, especially because he believed poor planning had led to current capacity concerns.
"I am advocating for the health care needs of the Fraser Coast Community because our local State Member for Hervey Bay is not," he said
"As a councillor, I have a responsibility to serve the public and represent the present and future interests of Fraser Coast residents. If we are serious about "Building Better Hospitals" on the Fraser Coast we will put aside partisan politics and advocate for a level 5 health service in the Fraser Coast."
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the new hospital was "locked in" for Bundaberg but insisted that did not detract from his plans for Maryborough Hospital.
He was adamant he would not tolerate any downgrading of Maryborough Hospital or the removal of any services at the hospital in favour of Bundaberg.
He said he was advocating for transportation between the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg so residents could access services they currently had to travel to the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane to receive.
Mr Saunders said more had to be done for health care in the region and the State Government was working on that.
"We have to keep moving forward, more has got to be done," he said.
"We can't relax on that."
Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said decisions on where a new hospital should be built was a matter for the State Government, as it was responsible for health and hospital services.
"The Queensland State Labor Government is yet to make a funding commitment to actually build a new level 5 hospital in Bundaberg," he said.
"It has, however, committed $979 million to upgrade Caboolture, Logan and Ipswich hospitals and another $265 million to build seven satellite hospitals, all located in the south east corner."