Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca hospital funding battle

The Echuca hospital expansion has become the latest front in the health funding war being conducted between the Victorian and federal governments.

DARREN LINTON January 5, 2013 4:30am

The expansion of the Echuca hospital has been caught up in a cash dispute between the Victorian and federal governments.

Victorian Health Minister David Davis went on the attack yesterday claiming his federal counterpart Tania Plibersek had failed to pay Victoria more than $159million for hospital building projects despite the accounts being lodged.

Mr Davis said after ripping $475million out of Victoria’s general health funding late last year, Ms Plibersek was all talk and no action on delivering hospital funding.

“Minister Plibersek was keen to tell everyone that we had not submitted our account for this work, but the invoice was sent to her on November 12, so it’s time now for her to put the stamp on the envelope and ensure that the cheque really is in the mail,” Mr Davis said.

“It’s now some five weeks since we sent the letters to Canberra, and the promised money hasn’t been forthcoming. Work on most of these projects is either well advanced or in some cases completed, so we would appreciate the Federal Government meeting its obligations.”

Mr Davis said Victoria had committed $140.13million on top of the federal funding to 11 hospital projects including the Albury-Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre and the Echuca Regional Health expansion.

Mr Davis’ attack is the latest shot in a war of words over health funding and whether the appropriate paperwork has been done to release the funds.

Ms Plibersek said earlier this week the Baillieu Government was delaying work needed by regional communities.

‘‘The Victorian Health Minister is acting like a spiv, wants Commonwealth money for nothing and is yet again playing politics with important health facilities for regional and rural Victoria,’’ she said.

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