A $14.5 million investment in Albury Wodonga Health, committed by the Coalition in the lead up to this year's federal election, will not be fully paid up for another five years.
AWH is ready to go with its major infrastructure projects now and board chair Nicki Melville has described the funding delay as "daft".
"We could build a brand new building for $12 million on the Wodonga campus and do it very efficiently if they'd just give us access to that money straight away," she said.
"It would alleviate some of those pressure points of people waiting in ED for a bed."
The first scheduled payment would not come until 2022, which is the year of the next federal election.
Ms Melville asked the government to release the funding much sooner.
"We do have patients staying in Nolan House or in Kerferd maybe longer than would be optimal so in other words what flows on is that bed's blocked because there's nowhere else for them to go, therefore there's no beds for people waiting in emergency with a mental health issue," she said.
AWH has written to Farrer and Indi MPs Sussan Ley and Helen Haines for help.
"If the Coalition government is serious about delivering for border communities, then Health Minister Greg Hunt has to come good with $2.5m this financial year. At least then the first stage specialist clinics centre can get underway ... and we want to see the whole $14.5 million well before the next election," Dr Haines said.
"When a minister flies in during an election period and comes to a community, there's a clear need and ambition for something to happen. They make a big announcement and the expectation is, I would think quite realistically, that isn't this great news - but then the devil's in the detail."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Dr Haines said the health projects were important to address the "missing middle" - those people who do not need to be admitted to the emergency department, but would benefit from a rehabilitation facility.
"It's a new model of mental health care that helps people to transition so they can get back into the community and on with their lives, and can also provide early intervention to avoid hospital admission," she said.
"Border communities had every right to expect the Coalition would deliver on these promises shortly after the election - not to wait until after the next one in 2022."
The project cannot be built in $5 million increments, it requires the entire funding commitment as a lump sum.
Dr Haines said she would speak to the government when she returns to Canberra today for the next Parliament sitting week.
The Border Mail contacted Mr Hunt's office for comment.