TIMBOON has $1 million swinging in limbo because of a long-running funding row between health ministers in Canberra and Victoria.
The town’s community has financed and built a new $5.3m primary care centre which opened in February, but Canberra’s cash is yet to come despite being approved more than a year ago under a Rudd government scheme.
The money is needed to purchase vital equipment for the operating theatre.
Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said Canberra had been trying to give $100m for 11 Victorian regional hospital projects, but the state refused to sign on the dotted line. She described the stalemate as bizarre.
State Health Minister David Davis blamed Canberra for putting too many bureaucratic restrictions on the funding.
While the ministers exhange barbs Timboon and District Healthcare leaders continue lobbying their departments for a commonsense resolution.
“For a small town like Timboon, $1m is a lot of money,” chief executive Wayne Weaire told The Standard yesterday.
“We’ve sent numerous correspondence, even a final report on the project, hoping to have the money released.
“We want to expand our operating theatre services, but can’t proceed because we can’t provide the equipment.
“Our community has had to self-fund the whole primary care facility which provides one-stop-shop facilities for the wider district from obstetrics through to aged care.”
Timboon receives $6m a year from the state in operating expenditure.
Colac Area Health is also awaiting $1.2m from Canberra.
Ms Plibersek urged Victoria to stop playing games and take the money. “We literally can’t give it away,” she said.
Mr Davis has slammed the federal government for adding needless bureaucracy to the funding.