2018 SA state budget preview: Murray Bridge hospital funds hoped for

Then-Opposition Leader Steven Marshall and Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick look at plans for an upgrade of the Murray Bridge hospital's emergency department in January. Photo: File.
Then-Opposition Leader Steven Marshall and Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick look at plans for an upgrade of the Murray Bridge hospital's emergency department in January. Photo: File.

Funding for the promised upgrade of the Murray Bridge hospital will be what Murraylands residents hope to see in tomorrow's state budget.

A promise of $7 million for a new emergency department was the most significant announcement of Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick's campaign in the lead-up to the state election earlier this year.

Now that the Premier's office is occupied by Steven Marshall, the Liberal leader with whom he stood shoulder to shoulder at a press conference on January 31, he, too will have his fingers crossed.

"I've certainly put it in front of everyone right through to the Premier, the Treasurer, the Health Minister - they're all aware of my keenness to get this project fully funded and operational," Mr Pederick said.

"There's a dire need for this service in a growing region.

"They know this needs to be done sooner rather than later."

But he said he would respect any decision the Health Minister and Treasurer reached.

The state Opposition hoped the government would come up with the hospital funds, Labor MP Clare Scriven said on a visit to Murray Bridge last week, as well as money for regional services and tourism.

In a statement, Opposition treasury spokesman Stephen Mullighan also called for an increase in funding to the Department of Environment and Water to allow for more prescribed burn-offs after a dry year, while environment and water spokeswoman Susan Close called for action to protect the River Murray from the effects of drought.

While most of the contents of the budget will remain secret until 3pm tomorrow, the state government has been drip-feeding announcements in recent weeks.

Initiatives confirmed to be in the budget include:

  • $40 million over two years to clear a backlog of patients waiting for elective surgery
  • $5 million this year to do the same for colonoscopies
  • $14.5 million to support public Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings

Hundreds of millions more will also be spent building a bypass at Port Wakefield and a bridge at Port Augusta, electrifying train lines out to Gawler, and developing a business case for more South Road upgrades in Adelaide.

The Standard's Peri Strathearn will be one of four Fairfax Media journalists participating in the budget lock-up in Adelaide.

Details about the budget will be available at www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au soon after the lock-up ends at 3pm.

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