ALP’s $700m hospital plan but there’s no deadline
NSW Labor has committed $700 million to a new public hospital in Sydney's north west - but has been unable to give a time frame for when the facility would open.
The funding commitment is Labor's first major health policy announcement ahead of the March election.
The $700m in funding for the Rouse Hill hospital is more than double what the Berejiklian government committed to the project during the 2015 election.
Former Premier Mike Baird committed $300 million to planning for the hospital.
The government remains in the planning stages for the new hospital and is under pressure to announce a site for the facility.
It's expected they will make that announcement in the coming weeks.
Labor leader Michael Daley said this morning that if he was elected Premier his government would stick with the site that's announced.
And he committed to turning the sod on the new facility at some point during his four-year tenure as Premier if he's elected.
But he said it wasn't possible to give a date for when the hospital's construction would be completed and the facility would open.
"We have to talk to the bureaucrats, the health experts about that, they'll do a clinical services plan. My commitment is to get cracking on the planning and turn the sod in the first term," he said.
"We're hoping the government will announce a site shortly. The people of the northwest will than have the certainty of the site and they'll have a big differentiator of a bigger, faster, better hospital under Labor than under Liberals."
Labor health spokesman Walt Secord said the community was in the grip of a "baby boom" and required more local devices.
"It's a growing community and it's unfair that they have to travel to Westmead and Blacktown (hospitals)," Mr Secord said.
Health services in the area are currently available at Norwest Private Hospital at Bella Vista as well as public hospitals at Blacktown, Westmead and Mt Druitt.
A hospital built by Labor would include maternity services, obstetrics and paediatric wards, a special care nursery and a women's clinic.
It would also have 300 beds and cover the basics of an emergency department, operating theatre and oncology.
Labor did not make an independent commitment to Rouse Hill Hospital in 2015 but Mr Secord said they supported the Liberals announcement at the time.
The Berejiklian government is spearheading a massive infrastructure project in Western Sydney which includes $4.9 billion on upgrades and hospitals.