I’m very pleased to learn that the issue of hospital parking has been put on the political agenda. It seems to me that after I first raised the issue over 12 months ago, health authorities are now taking the issue seriously.
Over the last eight months, Council staff and I have been in discussions with government health authorities about how to ensure Dubbo Hospital has adequate car parking facilities.
Multiple discussions, meetings and concept plans have been in the works so I certainly thank the relevant staff within NSW Health Infrastructure.
There is no doubt that as a city, our healthcare facilities have come a long way since initial proposals to build a new hospital at the former RAAF Base was first mentioned back before the year 2000.
After kicked-off by initial plans that were announced by the former state member Dawn Fardell, there has been a number of improvements to our health facilities.
There has been plenty of drama during that time but as a city we are now starting to see some real progress.
Residents who have seen the new interiors of the hospital are marvelled in the size of the new buildings and the fact that this is only just the start of the rebuild project has finally given residents of Dubbo the feeling that we will catch up with Orange and have health facilities that warrant Dubbo’s place as the capital of Central and Western NSW.
But with all this growth and expansion of services offered, I am worried that parking has been overlooked and will only become a bigger issue as time goes on, unless we do something about it.
I have reminded both politicians and health authorities on numerous occasions that even the best hospital in the world is useless if people cannot access it. In a place like Dubbo, car parking is paramount.
Unlike Sydney, where there is a train station and bus stop at nearly every major hospital, for regional residents the motor car is king.
The current situation at Dubbo Hospital has led to elderly, disabled and sick people having to park far away and in some cases walk through burrs and mud to access their hospital.
It’s completely unacceptable. This is not an issue that has emerged overnight. I saw firsthand the issues last year and at the election I made a pledge to get Council to help.
I even made a video going through the hospital car park and showing just how few spaces there were during the day.
At the time I was ridiculed by some locals in authority who said it wasn’t a problem, and others who said it was a state government issue and Council had no place getting involved.
Other armchair critics went on to say the proposed areas were subject to flooding, without even taking technical advice from the people who knew – Council’s engineers.
Despite those comments, since I was elected to Council we have made real progress to getting some relief for residents.
Council has have also made significant technical strides in the process as well.
The current discussions and designs that have been put on the table from Council’s engineers to the health authorities is a detailed work in progress but conceptually capable of providing a significant increase of parking spaces.
While I certainly acknowledge that health services is a state government issue, I also believe that any assistance Dubbo Regional Council can give to the Hospital in regards to parking will be met with the tick of approval from residents of the region.
I am pleased to announce that Michael McMahon has been appointed the full-time CEO of Dubbo Regional Council.
The role of the CEO is to manage the day-to-day functions of Dubbo Regional Council which is a multi-million dollar business and Mr McMahon brings extensive local government experience from large regional cities as well as metropolitan councils.