A PROPOSAL for cross border commissioners to establish a wide-reaching committee is among five recommendations to be considered by Wodonga Council as it continues its push for improved hospital services.
The suggestion will be debated at Monday night's council meeting as part of fresh moves in the context of the city's ongoing hospital advocacy.
Other recommendations relate to a planned health summit, the fate of Wodonga hospital, the Albury Wodonga Health clinical services plan and existing strain on Albury hospital.
The regional cross governmental infrastructure and services co-ordinating committee would look at "the full infrastructure and services requirements beyond the proposed redeveloped hospital site" and involve local, state and federal government figures.
In their report containing the recommendations, Wodonga Council's chief executive Matt Hyde and deputy chief executive Debra Mudra state such a body could provide a wide picture of health services, collaborations and budgeting and also tie-in related matters.
"The focus could extend to include initiatives such as enhancing public transport services across borders, developing road and interchange infrastructure to accommodate increased capacity demands and addressing water and sewerage infrastructure requirements," the pair write.
"Additionally, the committee could address worker housing, expand specialist healthcare services and facilities, revise training and development opportunities to meet evolving service demands, explore disposal options for surplus facilities and buildings, and explore collaborative opportunities with Defence and tertiary education institutions, requiring considerations for co-location."
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The canvassing of such a three-tiered committee follows the council having flagged a health summit with local, state and federal representatives.
The event's primary goal is described as being "to comprehensively understand the requirements necessary to address both current and future health needs of the region in comparison to what is being offered within the current funding".
Monday's recommendations for requests of information relate to the Victorian Health Department providing clarity on the timing of Wodonga hospital consultation and seeking a public release date from the Victorian government for the updated Albury Wodonga Health clinical services plan.
Council is also being urged to write to Victoria and NSW to push for more resources at Albury hospital to "alleviate the immediate strain on its current capacity in response to clinicians' concerns".
Mr Hyde and Ms Mudra noted frustration among residents about the fate of Wodonga hospital.
"The lack of consultation and information contributes to the growing distrust regarding the project's outcomes and the potential impact on Wodonga hospital," they stated.
Meanwhile, the annual report for Northeast Wangaratta was tabled in Victoria's parliament this week alongside the Albury Wodonga Health equivalent which reported a negative operating result of $206,000.
The Wangaratta public hospital recorded a $237,000 operating surplus, compared to a $39,000 deficit in 2022.
There was a reduction in salaries and wages with a total outlay of $103.2 million in 2023 compared to $106.4 million in 2022, however there was a massive rise in agency expenses which jumped from $928,000 to $25.6 million.
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