Chairman Granville Taylor concedes MACHINE 'has work to do' following snub of Stage 3 funding for Muswellbrook District Hospital redevelopment

GRANVILLE Taylor concedes MACHINE (Muswellbrook Aged Care and Hospital in a New Environment) still "has work to do".

While thankful for Tuesday's 2019-2020 NSW Budget allocation of $367,000 to complete expenditure of $19.975 million on Stage 2 of the local hospital redevelopment, the group's chairman was frustrated that's where the money trail ended.

Especially, with more expansions required for the overall project.

The refurbishment of parts of the existing premises is also due for completion mid-2019.

"We'll keep fighting," he told the Chronicle.

"A letter from NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard (April, 2019) to MACHINE stated 'Stage 3 of the Muswellbrook District Hospital redevelopment is a priority on the Hunter New England District Asset Plan and will be progressed under the masterplan'.

"So, I'm disappointed that funding will come to an end in 2019-2020 with an allocation of only $367,000 to complete Stage 2 in late 2019.

"The promised $1.5 million for oral care has failed to materialise.

"It has taken four years to disburse the funds from the $20 million 2015 grant for Muswellbrook hospital.

"This is underwhelming compared to funds provided to Forbes and Parkes ($113.4 million - completed in 2015-2016), Inverell ($60 million) and Mudgee ($70.7 million).

"Considering that the significant deficiencies in the condition of Muswellbrook hospital were recognised in 2010, it is a poor reflection on the care of our community by the NSW Government.

"Mr Michael [Upper Hunter MP] Johnsen's recent comment that 'more planning was required before any funds could be pledged to the third stage, and that will now have to wait until at least next year' simply reinforces his failure to stand up for the Muswellbrook community.

"I believe that the record royalties now being provided to the government by Muswellbrook mines should immediately elevate our hospital redevelopment to the level of priority which is well-deserved.

"It seems we're back to a planning stage without a date."

During the election campaign, and again last month, Mr Johnsen vowed he "would work hard in government to get the funding for Stage 3".

And, Mr Granville is hoping he delivers on that commitment.