You can hardly blame people for being sceptical.
On Tuesday, Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward revealed to the Illawarra Mercury he would be no longer supporting the push for the part-privatisation of the Shellharbour Hospital.
He instead, quite clearly, outlined his position and called on his own government to immediately progress the public $251million redevelopment of the Shellharbour Hospital.
After staying the course for so long, union leaders fear this might be a position purely to soften the blow of the government changing course.
They have called for a firm commitment from the Premier, the Treasurer and the Member for Kiama. They want a ‘’public commitment to a full funded, fully public hospital’’. “Words are cheap, Gareth. We want a commitment,’’ was the cry.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said Mr Ward had “put a fair-sized boot up my backside” to hurry up and make a decision but certainly gave no clear commitment to an ongoing public model. Seems the Member for Kiama best keep the other boot on standby.
Nothing less than a commitment to a public model will satisfy the community of Shellharbour which has been strong united on this issue. It has done so with the backing of both the Wollongong and Shellharbour councils.
So the message to the Health Minister and to the Premier is clear. Best you go public with your answer soon and best that answer be “public”.
SATURDAY SPECIAL EDITION
To celebrate the Illawarra Hawks first home game of the 2017-18 National Basketball League season, the Illawarra Mercury will produce a special edition on Saturday, October 21.
The edition will feature a special wrap of the paper including the 2017-18 Illawarra Hawks team poster.
The cover image saw Hawks import Rotnei Clarke put himself in front of a river of molten iron in the BlueScope blast furnace during the week.
The Weekender in the edition will feature a look back at the history of the club as the only remaining foundation club in the league’s 40th year and will speak to some familiar and much loved people involved with the Hawks.