SA state budget 2018: Murray Bridge hospital, Meningie school, Tailem Bend CFS station funded

Doctor Martin Altmann, Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick, then-Opposition Leader Steven Marshall and Mayor Brenton Lewis pledge to support an upgrade of the Murray Bridge hospital's emergency department in January. Photo: File.
Doctor Martin Altmann, Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick, then-Opposition Leader Steven Marshall and Mayor Brenton Lewis pledge to support an upgrade of the Murray Bridge hospital's emergency department in January. Photo: File.

A new emergency department at Murray Bridge Soldiers' Memorial Hospital is due for completion by June 2021 after being partly funded in Tuesday's state budget.

Planning work worth $1.5 million will be completed this financial year.

The remainder of the project's $7 million budget will be delivered over the next two years.

The upgrade will include a doubling of the number of treatment rooms in the emergency department, to 14, and resuscitation rooms, to four.

Two new procedure rooms, two consulting rooms, a relatives' room and a waiting room will also be built.

The hospital’s administration area will be demolished and relocated to make way for the development.

Local health authorities had lobbied hard to get the proposal funded over the past two years, and secured a pre-election commitment from Liberal leader Steven Marshall in January.

Local health authorities had lobbied hard to get the proposal funded over the past two years, and secured a pre-election commitment from Liberal leader Steven Marshall in January.

When the Liberals won government in March, the only question was whether this would be the year the work could begin.

Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick said he was delighted that it could.

“We’ll have a brand new emergency department after 40 years of nothing happening in that department,” he said.

“Sometimes the clock goes slowly, especially in health.”

He hoped the facility would help attract more medical professionals to Murray Bridge, and perhaps encourage more GPs to join the roster of those who responded to emergencies.

“There have been some doctors who’ve served at the current one and been deterred from coming back, who struggled with the lack of room, lack of security et cetera,” he said.

One GP still on the roster, Doctor Martin Altmann, said he was thrilled to see the “long overdue” upgrade would proceed.

“It will more than double the size of the existing footprint and modernise the facilities, improving patient care, privacy and the working conditions for the nurses and doctors,” he said.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said Tuesday’s budget demonstrated the depth of the Liberal government's understanding of the needs of regional South Australians.

Other items mentioned in the budget included the Globelink proposal for a freight airport and road and rail bypass starting at Monarto.

Planning work on the proposal will begin this financial year, as the government looks at ways of improving export infrastructure and increasing access to foreign markets.

A feasibility study will look at the potential for an Adelaide Metro bus service to Murray Bridge, at a cost of $150,000.

Meningie Area School

A further $4.5 million has been included in the budget for the completion of an upgrade at Meningie Area School.

The stage one upgrade, involving the replacement of old buildings with new junior, middle and senior classrooms and allowing enrolment at the school to increase to 300, was first announced by the previous state government in 2016.

At that time, it was envisioned that construction would begin in winter 2017 and be complete by this year.

Future stages of work, not yet funded, may include construction of a new administration building and library or relocation of a kindergarten onto the school grounds.

About $1.3 million was spent on the first phase of upgrades in 2017-18.

Tailem Bend fire station

Tailem Bend's new Country Fire Service station has been scheduled for completion in the next nine months after being included in Tuesday's budget.

The brigade was gifted land at the corner of Parklands Terrace and Golf Course Road for the project in 2016.

It had been on the hunt for a new location since gaining a third fire truck several years ago.

Among other firefighting measures in the budget was a promise of a temporary fire station to be built at The Bend Motorsport Park to support the 2019 World Scout Jamboree.

Comments