Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

New Echuca hospital officially enters construction phase

The turning of the sod officially marked the start of new Echuca hospital on Wednesday.

KATHLEEN TONINI December 21, 2012 4:23am

From left: Member for northern Victoria Donna Petrovich, Health Minister David Davis, Judy Cook (obscured) and Member for Rodney Paul Weller put their backs into it at the turning of the sod at Echuca Regional Health.

The first sod was turned on Wednesday to officially mark the start of construction for the new Echuca hospital.

Victorian Health Minister David Davis, along with Member for Northern Victoria Donna Petrovich, Member for Rodney Paul Weller and board president, Judy Cook, all took hold of a shovel to mark the occasion.

Yorta Yorta elder Aunty Melva Johnson did a welcome to country, describing the event as a ‘‘really big occasion’’.

An Aboriginal blessing of the ground was also performed before the crowd headed inside to escape the heat.

Inside the new education centre, Mr Davis spoke about the new hospital in detail and praised the community campaign for funding before the last election.

Funding was announced by the Victorian Government in May last year, following a community campaign for a new hospital.

The campaign culminated in a rally in October 2010 and the then Liberal-National Opposition pledged $40million if elected.

Mrs Cook also spoke, thanking the community, board, staff and executive for their work in planning the new hospital.

She also thanked Mr Weller for his ‘‘dogged’’ support for a new hospital.

The main construction of the $65.5million redevelopment will see the new hospital up and running by early 2015.

Mr Delahunty said with preliminary works done and major works set to begin in late January, it had been a positive start to the redevelopment.

‘‘By this time next year, work on all the new wards will be complete,’’ he said.

Mr Weller said it was fantastic to host the health minister in the Rodney electorate to celebrate the opening of much-needed health facilities in local communities.

‘‘The State Government and the local community have worked hard together to achieve a new hospital for Echuca and the new state-of-the-art facility will provide for the entire Echuca-Moama community for generations to come,’’ Mr Weller said.

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