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  • Rikki Lambert

Liberals raise Mildura stakes with $750 million hospital surprise

The battle for the seat of Mildura in Victoria's north-west is heating up with the Liberals National coalition upping the local independent MP's bid for a new public hospital.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy announced on Friday that, if elected in November, the coalition would spend $750 million building a new hospital for the Mallee and Mildura.

Friday's announcement appears to have blindsided the National Party, with Mr Guy, shadow health minister Georgie Crozier, the Liberal MP for western Victoria Wendy Lovell and Liberals' candidate for Mildura Paul Matheson in Mildura for the major policy revelation.

Under Liberal-National coalition agreements, the coalition members have liberty to run against each other when there is no incumbent coalition MP in the seat. A coalition run-off saw federal Liberal member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, claim Tim Fischer's seat when the former National leader retired for the 2001 federal election.

Independent MP for Mildura, Ali Cupper won the formerly safe Nationals seat off of Peter Crisp in November 2018, and has been campaigning for half a billion dollars in funding for a new hospital.

Hear Ali Cupper's comments on the need for a new Mildura hospital on the Flow podcast:

The Liberal leader said the current facility at the Mildura Base Public Hospital is outdated, and investment is vital to meet the needs of a growing regional population:

“The pandemic has laid bare the issues embedded into the healthcare system following years of mismanagement by the Andrews Labor Government.
“Accessing basic healthcare should never be a struggle. This investment is about ensuring regional Victorians are prioritised, and the very best of healthcare is made available.”

In tune with Ms Cupper's campaign for a new hospital, the opposition is promising their new hospital would be a venue for research, training, clinical trials and will also help to attract and retain medical staff in Mildura by improving the capacity to train doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff locally.

The Liberal-National coalition hopes the new research and academic facilities will be supported by the Commonwealth Government, and La Trobe and Monash Universities.

Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier, highlighted the importance of making the hospital an educational hub:

Liberal Candidate for Mildura, Paul Matheson, said the funding was a big win for the local community:

“Only a Matthew Guy Liberals and Nationals Government will deliver this much needed investment.”


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