LISMORE BASE HOSPITAL
Mr THOMAS GEORGE
(Lismore—The Deputy-Speaker) [7.10 p.m.]: I was delighted last week at the announcement of the Minister for Health that Aurora Projects had been appointed as the project manager, and Hassell the architects, to undertake design of the development of stage three of the Lismore Base Hospital. Altus Page Kirkland has been appointed as the project's cost manager. This is part of a promise made by the Minister for Health and the O'Farrell-Stoner Coalition at the election campaign launch last year to provide funding of $10 million to go towards the planning and development of the Lismore Base Hospital and the hospital in the Ballina electorate. Now that the consultant team has been announced planning works can get underway.
There was extensive consultation in the lead-up to that announcement, and further extensive consultation with take place with relevant community stakeholders, including nurses, doctors, health professionals and members of the Northern New South Wales Local Health District Board. It is great news for the community. Lismore Base Hospital has been well and truly in need of the development of stage three for years. Stage one involved the development of the mental health unit, and that has been completed and is running very well: it has become the mental health unit for the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales. Stage two was the integrated cancer unit and, with funding from both the State Government and the Federal Government, that too has been completed. It will be one of the most modern units of its kind in Australia in which a positron emission tomography [PET] scanner will be installed, hopefully over the next couple of months. The provision of the two bunkers at Lismore will complete the facilities necessary for a fully integrated cancer unit.
I am very honoured to be a director of the Northern Rivers Community Cancer Foundation and a patron of Our Kids. We are building a facility in Lismore for cancer patients—and their children and families—who will receive care at Lismore Base Hospital's cancer unit. It is a project of which I am very proud because not only has it had support from the State and Federal governments support but also it has had the support of the local community. I am very proud that the community has been able to put this project together. It will cost $5.5 million and it will provide 20 units with motel-style accommodation and communal areas for families. It will provide support for the families that stay there and the communal areas will promote interaction between the families. I should mention also that Lismore City Council has given the project generous support and has been very involved in the project.
I highlight all these other facilities to emphasise the importance of the completion of stage three of the Lismore Base Hospital, because people will be coming to Lismore to use the facilities and in many cases they will also need to go to Lismore Base Hospital, which is the base hospital for the Northern Rivers region. We have been pushing for some time to have stage three completed, and now that an announcement has been made about those who will plan the development we can go forward. I thank the Minister for Health and also the State and Federal governments for their contributions in getting this redevelopment underway.
Mr PAUL TOOLE
(Bathurst—Parliamentary Secretary) [7.15 p.m.]: I commend the tremendous work of the Deputy-Speaker. He has always been a very strong advocate for the community he represents. It has been obvious to me since I became a member of this place that the provision of health services is high on his agenda: he has talked regularly about this both in this House and in the party room. The Lismore electorate is fortunate to have a representative who pushes for better health services and who is a very strong advocate for the development of stage three of the Lismore Base Hospital. I commend him for his efforts on behalf of his community. We are very pleased to have members of the calibre of the Deputy-Speaker representing our regional communities.