The push for a public hospital in Melton


Natalie Anderson

A public hospital is Melton’s major issue in the upcoming Victorian election

Just before the 2018 State election, more than 11,000 Melton residents signed a petition to get the Victorian Government  to build a new public Hospital.

Three years later, last July in fact, Mayor Kathy Majdlik welcomed Health Minister Martin Foley to Melton to announce a 2024 construction date on Ferris Road, Cobblebank.

The timing of the announcement was not lost on residents. Melton’s new hospital was seen as an important issue for the electorate in the up-coming November election.

Currently, the closest hospital to Melton is in Sunshine, a 45-minute drive away. The Melton hospital would potentially serve the electorate’s townships, from Darley to Kurunjang, down to Eynesbury in the south.

It’s a happy coincidence the local State representative for Melton, Steve McGhie, is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Health in the Andrew’s Government.

Mr McGhie said Melton residents had recently upped their campaign for a new hospital, coinciding with a skyrocketing local population.

“Clearly with the growth of population and with the demands on hospitals in the Western Suburbs, the Melton area is in a black hole when it comes to people needing to travel for medical assistance,” Mr McGhie said.

“We have 175,000 people in this electorate, so the demands for a local Hospital are enormous.”

There once was a hospital in Melton – a private hospital. Mr McGhie, a former paramedic, remembers transporting to and from the private hospital, which was “unsustainable”.

“Melton has not had public hospital access before and we are wanting to change that,” he said.

The State Labor Government supplied $2.4 million to do business planning for the hospital. And then, in the 2020 State Budget, it bought the land for $75 million.

But Melton is not expecting a functioning hospital until the end of the decade. This is compared to Footscray’s hospital, which a grand opening date in 2025. The five-year discrepancy is not lost on residents.

Mr McGhie concedes the project will take time.

“This is the biggest infrastructure build in Melton’s history,” he said. “And it does take time and we have to have a population that requires it. And we need to have the demand that requires it.”

According to The Victorian Health Building Authority’s website, the new hospital could cope with almost    130,000 patient presentations each year, and almost 60,000 patients in the emergency department

In the first year of operation, the hospital will generate about 700 direct jobs, with a further 1,700 indirect jobs during the construction process.

Hospital plans show facilities for a 24 hour emergency department, about 100 beds, an intensive care unit, maternity and neonatal services, radiology services and outpatient care.