BRIGHT has welcomed another election promise from the Liberals’ Indi incumbent Sophie Mirabella, this time on the long-awaited redevelopment of the town’s hospital.
Mrs Mirabella yesterday pledged $150,000 for the required feasability study for a high-level aged-care centre, should the Coalition be elected on September 7.
And she promised another $50,000 for CCTV cameras at crime hot spots in Myrtleford, including Cundy Park where earlier this year razor blades were found stuck to playground equipment.
While Mrs Mirabella said the Coalition was making “modest commitments on the things that matter in Indi”, her opponents were making “pork-barrelling” promises.
She questioned whether money was being spent the best way.
Chairman of the hospital’s development committee Bruce McDonald said he was not interested in politics.
“As far as the committee is concerned, it’s an offer that’s been made to the Bright community and we’re very pleased the offer has been made,” he said.
“It’s certainly good news as far as we’re concerned.”
The Border Mail reported last week the committee had raised $800,000 towards any redevelopment, and had asked the Victorian Health Minister David Davis and Mrs Mirabella for $150,000 for the feasability plan.
Mrs Mirabella said a high-care aged facility was essential to Bright’s future, given its population is ageing.
About 40 per cent of people living in the Alpine shire in 2025 will be aged 60 or older.
Mrs Mirabella said the security cameras would deter criminal activity and make the community feel safer.
But Labor candidate Robyn Walsh called the $50,000 pledge “laughable”.
“I was at the Wodonga Foodshare last week and there are people there in desperate need of funding,” she said.
“That money would probably be the salary of a full-time co-ordinator there, and she’s offering money for CCTV.
“It’s not exactly the King Street of the North East is it?”
Ms Walsh could not say whether Labor could match the hospital funding, but said she would push for more funding for welfare services like the food bank.
Greens candidate Jenny O’Connor said the rash of Coalition promised showed it was “clear the pork-barrelling has begun”.
“And that’s why people want marginal seats — the money gets thrown around,” she said.