Bitter disappointment. The Shire of Ashburton will continue to fight for their promised Tom Price Hospital after the State Budget outcome.

Published on Friday, 10 May 2024 at 10:59:31 AM

Bitter disappointment. The Shire of Ashburton will continue to fight for their promised Tom Price Hospital after the State Budget outcome.
Despite efforts to secure essential funding for the Tom Price hospital, the Government has allocated $77,000 in expenditure for the 2024-25 financial year, has left the Shire and its constituents deeply concerned and shows the Health Minister is not listening.
The State Government's decision to allocate funds for the new Tom Price Hospital all the way back to 2027-28 has sparked widespread discontent within the Ashburton community for a second time.
While the Minister for Health, Amber Jade-Sanderson, has openly admitted that there have been significant increases in the cost of delivering much-needed health infrastructure to the rural town, causing delays in delivery, there has been no net increase in the budget allocation for the new Tom Price Hospital, with the majority of spend pushed out to the 2027-28 budget.
The hospital, which is now 57 years old, is essential to the region's community, tourists, parents, Shire and FIFO group, who all now face uncertain futures due to the lack of financial support.
Shire of Ashburton President Audra Smith has expressed her frustration with the outcome and has made clear the fight will continue.
“On behalf of the Tom Price community, I am extremely disappointed with yesterday’s outcome.
“We had hope, and we thought the Minister for Health, Amber Jade-Sanderson, would understand the importance of promises, put herself in our shoes and see the effects this outdated facility is having on our community.
“The community's voices are loud and proud. We will continue to fight until the promise of a new Tom Price Hospital is met. We don’t have a new hospital, but what we do have is community backing - support from businesses, residents and those as far as the South West listening to our pledge. The Minister’s not listening.
“We are strong, we are resilient and will continue to advocate for the build of the Tom Price Hospital which was promised more than three years ago,” declared President Smith.
Mother of three, full time worker and small business owner, Samantha Pumphrey, has been at the heart of the campaign since day one and is also devastated with the outcome.
“This is not acceptable. All I have to say is, what now? Where is the money going that is more beneficial than making sure we have the health care infrastructure for our families and whole community in Tom Price?”
“The Tom Price community are powerful. We have the support of regional communities and individuals Statewide. We will not stop fighting until we get what was promised.”
The Shire of Ashburton urges the State Government to reconsider its budgetary priorities, considering there is a $2.6 billion surplus in the State budget for 2024-25, it would make sense to stick to the promise and put the needs of regional communities like Tom Price on the top of their agenda.
Bandages won’t fix broken promises, and they will certainly not fix the broken trust of local Tom Price families and residents any time soon if this type of facility were to remain and we continue to be ignored.
We call on the Minister to revisit the budget surplus and to reallocate the necessary funds to build the new Tom Price Hospital in the next two years.

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