Mr PAUL CRITTENDEN: I address my question without notice to the Minister for Health. What is the latest information on improvements to health facilities on the Central Coast?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Gosford to order.
Mr MORRIS IEMMA: Lots of good things are happening. I thank the honourable member for Wyong for his efforts in ensuring that the Government delivers first-class health facilities for the people of the Central Coast. I am pleased to announce that with the extra funds made available through budget surpluses this year we will give the Central Coast a $10 million boost for the $208 million redevelopment of Gosford and Wyong hospitals. This boost will bring to almost $79 million the capital allocation for the Central Coast for this year alone. It will help address the immediate seasonal pressure on Gosford and Wyong hospitals by increasing the capacity at Wyong emergency department with an additional 10 beds two years sooner than otherwise would have been possible.
Extra funds for the Central Coast will ensure completion in 2004 of a range of new facilities, including a new respiratory ward, new outpatient facilities and new education facilities. Extra funds will help to ensure that the Central Coast access plan is completed by 2006. It includes new emergency departments and extra operating theatres at both hospitals as well as a new mental health unit. It is this budget surplus that has formed the basis for the Government's plan to invest $420 million in a health super growth fund. Following the announcement of this week's interest rate increase, the estimate is that $92.4 million in interest will be earned in the next four years. That means $92.4 million extra for health capital works that will enable us to bring forward major projects that would otherwise not have started until further down the track.
In addition to the Central Coast, the Government has identified 14 major projects in rural and regional New South Wales that will benefit from this fund. The projects include the $220 million redevelopment of Bathurst, Orange and Bloomfield hospitals in the State's midwest; the $30 million redevelopment of Queanbeyan hospital in the State's south; $1 million for a primary care centre in Menindee in the State's Far West; the acceleration of six smaller hospitals as multipurpose services in Dunedoo, Portland, Guyra, Walcha, Tottenham and Tullamore across inland New South Wales; and the replacement of two linear accelerators at Wollongong and Liverpool hospitals. The fund will enable us to announce a similar set of projects year after year with money that would otherwise have gone to interest payments on State debt.
This is a clear demonstration of good fiscal management and good fiscal responsibility. The Opposition has demonstrated clearly its ignorance of and disagreement with our plan for the health super growth fund. The statements made yesterday by the Leader of the Opposition show clearly his ignorance of debt, interest payments and our plans for the fund. Put simply, they are an investment in the health infrastructure of this State that is integral to providing quality care and improved health care services for the people of New South Wales.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Baulkham Hills to order.