by Anna Watson

Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has welcomed today’s announcement that a site has been identified for the new Shellharbour Hospital.

Ms Watson joined with the Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard MP, who made the announcement today at the greenfield site located on Dunmore Road, Dunmore.

In welcoming the announcement, Ms Watson said, “I’ve worked very closely with Minister Hazzard for a number of years to secure new health care facilities in my electorate and I’m thrilled to see it finally coming to fruition.”

“This is wonderful news for our region. Once complete, this new state-of-the-art hospital will support our growing population and ensure that their health care needs are met well into the future. It will also go a long way towards easing pressure on Wollongong Hospital.”

On 8 September 2020, the Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard MP, announced that a brand-new replacement for Shellharbour Hospital would be built on a greenfield site. At the time, Minister Hazzard stated that work would start in “around 18 months” and he hoped the new hospital would be completed in five years.

Just over two months later, on 18 November 2020, Minister Hazzard declared that the site selection process had commenced to identify a greenfield site for the new Shellharbour Hospital.

The site located on Dunmore Road, Dunmore, was an early frontrunner due to its close proximity to existing road and rail infrastructure” said Ms Watson.

“No doubt it took the Berejiklian Government a very long time to work out that this new facility is what our region needed. It’s been 8 months since this announcement was first made, but I am excited that this preferred site has now been identified. Hopefully, it’s all systems go from here” said Ms Watson.

In 2015, the NSW Government made a re-election promise to invest $251 million dollars and fully fund the upgrade of Shellharbour Public Hospital.

In September 2016, it was revealed by the then Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, that this upgrade would take place under a public-private partnership model. This decision was made without any prior consultation and was met with huge community opposition.

A hard fought community campaign to keep Shellharbour Hospital in public hands eventually resulted in a backflip by the Berejiklian Government on its public-private proposal for Shellharbour Hospital in October 2017.

An additional $128 million of funding was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison prior to the Federal Election in 2019, for the redevelopment of Shellharbour Hospital.

At the time, questions were raised about the suitability of the current hospital site at Shellharbour for such an expansion, or whether a new greenfield site should be acquired instead.