New $5.5m ambulance station promised for North Rockhampton
LABOR has pledged $5.5 million to build a new and expanded North Rockhampton Ambulance Station in the party’s second big ticket health promise for the Rockhampton region in two days.
The North Rockhampton station would be one of six locations across Queensland to benefit from a $31 million investment in new and replacement ambulance stations if the Labor Government was re‑elected.
The station’s relocation to a vacant block to the west of the existing station was necessary given the current facility stood in the path of the future Rockhampton Ring Road.
Touring the station with Labor’s candidates for Keppel Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the construction of the bigger and better ambulance station would take place during the next term of government.
Ms Lauga said the project would directly contribute to the local economy, supporting 15 local construction jobs.
“This project will mean the station can expand and Rockhampton residents will have greater access to emergency pre-hospital health care,” Ms Lauga said.
“We know that North Rockhampton and the suburbs of Parkhurst and Riverside Estate are all the growth areas of Rockhampton.
“It’s the only flood-free area that Rocky has left so we will be seeing more people living in this area into the future so having the important frontline services like a big new ambulance station in North Rocky will be really important.”
Mr O’Rourke firstly acknowledged the hard work of the emergency services before going on to explain the replacement station was all about future-proofing to ensure it could support an increase in operational demand.
“This upgrade and expansion is an important step in improving ambulance services in the area,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“The new-look station will include improved amenities and, importantly, room for future expansion.
“We look forward to switching on the lights and welcoming the crews into their comfortable new station after construction is completed.”
Mr Miles said the $31 million statewide investment would increase access to emergency health care, ensure paramedics had world-class amenities, and would also boost local jobs and businesses by supporting 86 full time construction jobs.
“This year has proven just how vital our health workers are, and along with our record ambulance budget and additional staff, this investment is proof of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to keeping Queenslanders healthy, no matter where they live,” Mr Miles said.
“This $31 million investment will not only give our paramedics access to world-class amenities through the construction of new and replacement ambulance stations, it will also increase access to emergency health care for Queenslanders in those communities.
“No one wants to ever need to call paramedics, but if they do, our local paramedics are committed to delivering the best care for people should they need it.”
He said this latest investment was part of Labor’s Economic Recovery Plan, which included $889 million of new health infrastructure commitments as part of their $3.8 billion health infrastructure program over the next four years.
Labor candidate for Mirani Shane Hamilton said small communities north of Rockhampton would benefit from the paramedic response once the relocated station was operational.
“Our Rockhampton officers proudly put on their uniform day in, day out for our community,” Mr Hamilton said.
“Our health hero paramedics on the frontline dedicate their lives to helping save the lives of their fellow Queenslanders.
“They deserve to come to work in a comfortable and modernised environment.”
Ms Lauga said Central Queenslanders could not risk an LNP Government.
“I am proud to be part of the Palaszczuk Labor Government that has worked hard to rebuild our health services and frontline staff after the LNP cut them,” Ms Lauga said.
“The Palaszczuk Government has hired 29 more paramedics across Central Queensland.
“When the LNP were last in Government, they sacked 197 staff from Central Queensland hospitals, including 41 nurses.”
LNP candidate for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins said this was another condescending announcement from the Labor Party that treats the people of Rockhampton with contempt.
He believed that community anger was growing towards the Member for Rockhampton and the Member for Keppel.
“Stop treating us like mugs. Of course the station has to be relocated, it sits on the Ring Road Site,” Mr Hopkins said.
“Common sense tells you that it needs to be rebuilt.
“Stop trying to con voters and take credit for projects that you have little to do with.”
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry questioned why Rockhampton only ever got funding commitments from the Labor Government around election time.
“Where on earth have they been for the past five years or even the past 100 years that Labor have held the seat?” Ms Landry asked.
“It’s shameful that it takes a close election for the Palaszczuk Labor Government to find Rockhampton on a map.
“People in Rockhampton can’t trust Labor to deliver on its promises. We all know they love writing the cheques during elections but never delivering.”
Ms Landry accused Health Minister Steven Miles of being too busy harassing President Donald Trump on Twitter rather than fixing Rockhampton’s ever-increasing surgery waitlists.
“The State LNP has already pledged to invest an extra $10.7m to clear the surgery waiting list in Rockhampton,” she said.
“There are 1684 patients stuck on Labor’s waiting list in Rockhampton and many of them are living with chronic pain. Only the LNP will fix Rockhampton’s hospitals.”
The State LNP and Rockhampton Regional Council were approached for comment.