House debates

Thursday, 15 February 2024

Constituency Statements

Dobell Electorate

9:45 am

Photo of Emma McBrideEmma McBride (Dobell, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention) Share this | | Hansard source

This month I stood alongside the NSW Minister for the Central Coast and state member for Wyong, David Harris, to announce that parking would remain free at Wyong Hospital. Under the previous Liberal government, plans to introduce paid parking at Wyong Hospital were put in motion. Wyong Hospital services one of the largest regional centres and, as locals know, lacks good public transport access. As a pharmacist who worked at Wyong Hospital for nearly a decade, I know the devastating impact the introduction of paid parking would have had on patients, visitors and staff. I'd like to extend my thanks to the community, who joined our campaign to stop paid parking at Wyong Hospital. It was only a few short years ago that we fought together against the Liberal's plan to privatise our community hospital. I want to give a further thank you and my gratitude to the New South Wales health minister, Minister Ryan Park, who listened to the needs of locals, who heard our community, who worked with us and who stopped the introduction of paid parking. I'm also delighted that, on the same occasion, Minister Harris announced $6.4 million has been allocated for the stage 3 redevelopment of Wyong Hospital. This is such an important investment in health in our community.

Our government is working hard to strengthen Medicare after a decade of cuts under the previous coalition government. Since we tripled the bulk-billing incentive last November, we've seen a turnaround in bulk-billing that was in absolute freefall. In my electorate, we've seen a 5.5 per cent increase in bulk-billing. I'd like to acknowledge the doctors and practices on the coast who are taking up the incentive and bulk-billing those who need it most. Last December we opened the Medicare urgent care clinic at Lake Haven in my electorate for urgent but not life-threatening emergencies. This Medicare urgent care clinic is taking the pressure off the already stretched emergency department at Wyong Hospital and, since it opened it's doors, has seen close to 2,000 patients—2,000 people having free, walk-in, bulk-billed urgent care.

Finally I want to touch on the Love Lanes Festival in Wyong, which I was delighted to join on Saturday with my family and friends, especially my niece, Iona, and so many people from across the community. The Love Lanes Festival celebrates my hometown, bringing together local businesses, much-loved community groups and creatives in a family festival everyone can enjoy. Besides getting to see her friends and her former kindergarten buddy, Shelby, I know that my niece, Iona, particularly enjoyed watching the handstand chair circus act. It's wonderful to see the Love Lanes Festival in Wyong grow from year to year, and I'm keen to attend next year, when I'm sure it'll be even bigger and better than in past years. While I talk about the Love Lanes Festival, I want to finish by congratulating the Prime Minister and his partner, Jodie Haydon, on their engagement yesterday. Congratulations, Prime Minister.