President of the City of Busselton Responds to Minister for Health (14th December, 2007)
The Minister went on to say that effectively City of Busselton had dealt themselves out of playing a role in influencing the shape of health care facilities for the Busselton area. He further stated that the Shire was not part of the process and did not have a determinative role in the siting of the new hospital.
Additionally, Mr McGinty stated that the State Government was not going to put off commencing construction next year and accused the Shire of standing in the way of achieving that objective.
The President of the City of Busselton, Cr. Wes Hartley said that "he was very disappointed and somewhat disillusioned with the comments made by the Minister for Health, given that the City of Busselton is working effectively with other Ministers of the Crown and Parliamentary Secretaries in such crucial areas as the Jetty reconstruction and the ongoing environment issues relating to Port Geographe."
Mr Hartley said that "it was difficult to be dealt out of a role in shaping the health care facilities of the Busselton area because the Shire had never been invited to join the card game in the first place."
Mr Hartley continued by saying that "at no time ever had any plans, designs, construction parameters or rezoning issues been before the shire officers for consideration or before Council for ratification. All the citizens of the Busselton municipality have done is to express an opinion through a referendum, the most strongly supported issue in the history of Busselton, to have its new hospital as promised by the Government in October 2005, sited on the present Mill Street location. For the Minister for Health to indicate that we have delayed any processes, which clearly we were not ever involved in, or that we would play any role in delaying construction is ludicrous. The Minister's decision on 5th September 2007, as detailed in his statement to the Legislative Assembly, invoked State powers to take over construction of the new Busselton health facilities without having any need to consult with the City of Busselton whatsoever.
President Hartley indicated further that the City of Busselton was taking a proactive approach to Government with respect to development issues throughout the South West and for the Minister for Health to adopt such an autocratic approach can only at best, be charitably expressed as 'unfortunate'.
Councillor Hartley on 7th December, 2007 in a letter addressed to the Premier wrote: "The City of Busselton has never had any plans before it whatsoever, for the new hospital, the site of which stands outside the original node identified for the original Vasse-Newtown village complex. Council remains concerned that all of this is taking place without the community of the local government authority being directly involved."
"We recognise that a Minister of the Crown can invoke the Public Works Act in situations requiring direct intervention, but we are at something of a loss as to why the Act is being used in this situation. Council was awaiting advice from its officers in response to a Government development/planning application which has not been forthcoming."
"Again, the City of Busselton affirms the Government's decision to create new health facilities within our region. It is the process that has been called into question. We wish to be an active and positive agent in the development of future health facilities for the whole Capes region."
Media enquiries can be directed to the Shire President on 0412 425 058.