Vince Catania: State Government funds for Meekatharra Hospital ‘$30m short’

Sam JonesMidwest Times
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Meekatharra shire president Harvey Nichols, Member of North West Central Vince Catania, and shire CEO Roy McClymont.
Camera IconMeekatharra shire president Harvey Nichols, Member of North West Central Vince Catania, and shire CEO Roy McClymont. Credit: Supplied

North West Central MLA Vince Catania has accused the State Government of “papering over the cracks” with a $15.7 million funding announcement for Meekatharra Hospital, saying the more than five-decade-old facility should be completely rebuilt.

It comes as Shire president Harvey Nichols said he was worried the redevelopments would take years and the community would suffer with substandard health services in the meantime.

Before the State election in March, Deputy Premier Roger Cook and WA Labor North West Central candidate Cherie Sibosado visited the Meekatharra Hospital to announce a $13.3m funding commitment for a new facility, with $2.4m added to the initial number in this week’s announcement.

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Mr Catania said the funding fell well short of the amount needed to build a new health facility, and urged the State Government to address the funding shortfall.

“It’s $30m short of building a new hospital,” he said.

“The current facility is well past its use-by date.”

“Given the amount of royalties from the resource sector — of which Meekatharra is a large contributor — they should be fully funding a new hospital for the town.

“This is just throwing a few coins at a problem that is much larger.”

It’s $30m short of building a new hospital. The current facility is well past it ’ s use d -by date.

- North West Central MLA Vince Catania.

Mr Catania said aside from the ongoing costs required to maintain the building, which was opened in 1954, the lack of a new building could further hurt Meekatharra’s ability to attract health professionals.

His comments were echoed by Mr Nichols, who said he was grateful for the funding, but worried it would take years to see the benefits.

“We’re a small town and a lot of these politicians are only focused on city issues, so we are very happy to get some funding,” he said. “I’m worried about how long it’s going to take.

“We haven’t been told exactly where the money is going and what will be built, and these things often take a lot of time.

“I just hope it doesn’t take a decade to see the new facility up and running.”

The State Government said the funding would be used for emergency services, mental health, community aged care, and acute care services.

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