Three Years of Broken Promises

Published on Monday, 26 February 2024 at 4:55:24 PM

Today marks a sombre milestone for the people of Tom Price as they endure yet another year of inadequate healthcare services, with promised funding from the State Government still pending after three long years.

Rio Tinto's generous commitment of $20 million towards the project highlights the significance of this initiative for the community. However, without the promised State Government funding of $12.8 million, the project remains stalled, depriving the people of Tom Price of access to quality healthcare.

Despite the Premier's pledge on February 26, 2021, the funds have failed to materialise, leaving the community in limbo. This issue has been on the agenda of previous governments since 2017. To the best of the Shire's knowledge, this is the first instance where the current government has failed to deliver on a promise.

The people of Tom Price are deeply disappointed by the continued delay in funding, which has resulted in a three-year delay, causing the capital cost of the hospital to escalate to over approximately $70 million. This delay is unacceptable and places a burden on the residents who rely on these vital healthcare services.

The residents of Tom Price are hardworking individuals who contribute significantly to the economic prosperity of Western Australia. They deserve better than to be left without adequate healthcare services, especially considering the dangerous nature of their work in industries such as mining.

Shire of Ashburton President, Audra Smith, experiences pressure from the community daily, asking the one question on everyone’s mind, where is our new hospital.

“I want a definitive date. The people of Tom Price and the greater community deserve adequate healthcare facilities.

“We were promised a hospital three years ago.  A new hospital for Tom Price was an election commitment and its failure to be delivered reflects poorly on the government's commitment to regional Western Australia,” said President Smith.

The lack of progress on this issue is particularly concerning given the region's reliance on tourism, with many visitors drawn to attractions such as Karijini National Park. Adequate healthcare facilities are essential to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, community members, workers, and tourists alike.

Last week, the Council considered an item highlighting the financial implications of the project's delay, which will ultimately result in increased costs for taxpayers.

The Shire of Ashburton calls on the State Government to honour its commitment to the people of Tom Price and take immediate action to commit the promised funding. Anything less is a disservice to the residents of Tom Price and a failure to fulfill the government's obligations to regional Western Australia.


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