Pre-polling starts Saturday, with hospital funding a hot topic

You can vote early at Tenterfield Memorial Hall from this Saturday.
You can vote early at Tenterfield Memorial Hall from this Saturday.

Voting in March 23rd's state election starts this Saturday at Tenterfield Memorial Hall, for those eligible to pre-poll (mostly being more than eight kilometres away from a voting centre on election day, or seriously ill or infirm).

The voting station will be open on Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and then from Monday onwards from 8am to 8pm.

Then on voting day polling places will be open from 8am to 6pm at Memorial Hall and at Liston, Legume and Drake Halls, Urbenville and Tabulam schools and the Tabuam Local Aboriginal Lands Council office.

Funding for the local hospital was a keen point of discussion at the Candidates Q&A hosted by the Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism, Industry and Business in February, and continues to be an election topic.

The hospital has since received an additional $410,000 to finalise maintenance works, on the tail of a million dollars through the Rural Health Infrastructure Program for upgrades to the Emergency Department and renovations to inpatient bathroom facilities.

MP Thomas George said the latest funding will cover a proposed list of maintenance including air-conditioning works, painting and upgrades to the town's palliative care services.

Labor candidate Janelle Saffin is also keen to ensure the hospital stays cool, saying that health services take priority over Sydney stadiums.

She promised $2.1 million to provide minor upgrades and the installation of air-conditioning at the hospital should Labor win, as part of its 'Schools and Hospitals before Stadiums’ plan.

"A Daley Labor Government will fully air-condition all parts of the hospital where it is needed – especially in patients’ rooms," she said.

“Country Labor has different priorities to the Nationals. We will invest in country hospitals rather than splurging on Sydney stadiums."

She said the commitment follows calls from patients, their families, local nurses and health workers for the hospital to be fully air-conditioned, and that currently only the emergency department, palliative care and general offices are air-conditioned. The announcement follows Labor’s commitment to deliver more than 10,000 additional nurses, health and hospital workers across NSW.

“Regional hospitals and health services around the state have been neglected for too long under the Liberals and Nationals,” Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said.

Ms Saffin said the coming NSW election would be a referendum on health services in rural and regional areas.

“I will deliver and Labor will deliver the hospital upgrades and the required staff for regional hospitals."