Health | August 23, 2017

Western Victorian hospitals forced to find extra $2m to pay power bills

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP has slammed the Andrews Labor Government’s lack of action on energy prices, as Western Victorian hospitals report increased costs of around 80 per cent.

In Parliament on Wednesday, Ms Kealy questioned Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio on whether the Andrews Government would provide country hospitals with the full funding needed to cover these costs.

“Hospitals in Western Victoria expect their power bills to rise about 80 per cent. It is about an additional $2 million our health care services need to find to keep the lights on,” Ms Kealy said.

“When Daniel Andrews failed to stop the closure of Hazelwood, he said energy bills would rise about four per cent, but we now know the increase is far higher.

“Regional hospitals can’t rely on hospital auxiliary cake stalls to help cover soaring energy costs.”

Wimmera Health Care Group in Horsham expects power bills to rise by more than $500,000 this financial year.

Hamilton’s Western District Health Service has been notified by Health Purchasing Victoria that its electricity costs will increase by over $360,000 this year.

Power bills will soar at West Wimmera Health Service by $370,000 this year, while Casterton Memorial Hospital says it will have increases of $70,000.

“Rising energy bills add more strain to country hospital budgets that are already stretched thin,” Ms Kealy said.

“Our health services do a great job at providing quality health care to our region, but if significant funds have to be redirected to keeping the lights on, what other services will have to be cut?

“The Andrews Labor Government must urgently commit to fully funding the significant increase in energy costs,” she said.

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