Ley predicts heart lab in first budget

A $5 MILLION cardiac laboratory for Albury Wodonga Health could be included in the federal Coalition government’s first budget in May.

The laboratory was the biggest election commitment made on the Border in the lead-up to the September poll.

The member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, and the former member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, secured a promise for the cardiac laboratory for the Border should the Coalition win government.

The lab will be built in Ms Ley’s electorate at Albury hospital.

But its services will be available to patients with heart conditions from throughout southern NSW and North East Victoria, meaning Border people will not have to travel to Sydney or Melbourne for treatment.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said during question time in Federal Parliament last week that the laboratory was one of the Coalition’s major pre-election commitments for Farrer and Indi.

Ms Ley said she was in regular contact with the federal Health Minister Peter Dutton about the delivery of the cardiac lab early in the government’s term in office.

“This is a critical piece of local health infrastructure and something that we fought hard to secure a commitment for,” she said.

“The project is going ahead as scheduled and I am hopeful that it will be included in the 2014-15 budget.

“The Commonwealth government will also need to work through an agreement with the Victorian government.

“I expect those negotiations to start sometime in the new year.”

The Save Albury Wodonga Health lobby group was also involved in securing the funding promise for the cardiac lab.

Group representative Liz Hare said she was aware that planning for its installation had already started at Albury Wodonga Health.

“In the meantime, we are still sending thousands of people mostly to Melbourne for treatment,” she said.

“They are still having to leave their local environment and be away from family and friends.

“The sooner the laboratory happens the better.

“We are satisfied at this stage things are progressing well and that this project will go ahead as early as possible.”

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