Health Minister Roger Cook announces a re-elected Labor Government will build new hospital in Meekatharra

Midwest Times
Meekatharra Shire president Harvey Nichols, Labor WA candidate for North West Central Cherie Sibosado and health minister Roger Cook.
Camera IconMeekatharra Shire president Harvey Nichols, Labor WA candidate for North West Central Cherie Sibosado and health minister Roger Cook. Credit: Midwest Times

Health Minister Roger Cook flew into Meekatharra today to announce a re-elected Labor Government will build a new, long overdue hospital for the Murchison town.

Mr Cook said if it won next week’s election Labor would commit $13.3 million to start construction of the new Meekatharra Health Service, at the existing hospital site. He promised construction would start during the government’s second term.

The brand new facility will consist of acute care, emergency services, residential aged care, community aged care, population health, mental health, Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) facilities, and other primary care services. It will cater to the people of Meekatharra and surrounding areas.

The existing hospital in town was built in 1954 and is in urgent need of replacement.

In the interim, the government says it will continue investing in existing health services in Meekatharra, including work which is under way on a new mortuary at the existing hospital which is due to be finished in June. Parts of the ageing hospital have also been refurbished, with vinyl floors replaced, kitchen renovations under way and further works planned on the roof, gutters, painting and repairs to driveways and walkways.

Mining and pastoral region MLC Kyle Owen McGinn, Meekatharra Shire president Harvey Nichols, North West Central candidate Cherie Sibosado and health minister Roger Cook.
Camera IconMining and pastoral region MLC Kyle Owen McGinn, Meekatharra Shire president Harvey Nichols, North West Central candidate Cherie Sibosado and health minister Roger Cook. Credit: Midwest Times

The government has recently committed $250,000 to upgrade facilities at the RFDS base in Meekatharra, while a design has now been finalised for a revamped Meekatharra Mental Health Service, expected to be completed later this year.

“Mark McGowan and WA Labor are committed to ensuring high-quality healthcare for all Western Australians, regardless of where they live. We have invested over $265 million in regional healthcare infrastructure over the last four years,” Mr Cook said.

“When I met with the Shire (of Meekatharra) last year, they asked consideration be given to identifying early funding for the planning for a new local hospital.

“The Shire is to be commended for their passion and advocacy for a new hospital. We both agree the hospital is an ageing facility and needs replacing.”

Labor candidate for North West Central Cherie Sibosado added: “The staff at Meekatharra Hospital do a terrific job providing the surrounding community with great care – but it is time to build a new local health service for the town and surrounding areas.”

She said improved aged care facilities would “be a big deal” for older community members who wanted to stay on country and at home, adding people in the region often travelled to Geraldton to access the service.

The Shire of Meekatharra president Harvey Nichols said he was excited to hear the announcement after pushing for the project for a long time.

“This has been on the Shire’s agenda for years... we’ve been reminding people Meekatharra is still here,” he said.

Member of North West Central Cherie Sibosado with Meekatharra Community Resource Centre community service officer Jo Bonnily and manager Anna Johnson.
Camera IconMember of North West Central Cherie Sibosado with Meekatharra Community Resource Centre community service officer Jo Bonnily and manager Anna Johnson. Credit: Midwest Times

While in town, Labor also announced $10,000 for a Yulella Aboriginal Fabrication Corporation community garden and $15,500 to help furnish the Community Resource Centre.

Centre manager Anna Johnson said: “I am taken aback. Cherie came to see us last week to speak about what we needed. It was fantastic that she listened. This is going to make our lives much easier”.

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