Friday, 30 October 2009

Wallsend Aged Care

Here's a copy of my Notice of Motion supporting the Wallsend community.




That Newcastle City Council:

1. congratulates the community of Wallsend for their steadfast defence of public health facilities in their area

2. supports the community campaign to keep the Wallsend Aged Care facility as a publicly owned and operated health facility

3. writes to the NSW Premier, Nathan Rees and to the NSW Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbut, urging the NSW Government to retain Wallsend Aged Care as a public sector facility, with copies to the NSW Leader of the Opposition, Barry O'Farrell, and to the NSW Shadow Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner.

4. arranges a visit by councillors to the community picket line, as a gesture of support for the community campaign, and to discuss with campaign participants how council might further assist them in their campaign.


Councillors will be aware that members of the Wallsend community have initiated a grassroots community campaign (including an ongoing picket-line) to save the Wallsend Aged Care facility from privatisation by the NSW government.

The Wallsend Aged Care facility is the largest care centre of its kind in the Hunter Valley and provides essential, high quality nursing care for extreme-need cases, including for young people with rare and special illnesses that are not accommodated in local private nursing care facilities.

The proposed privatisation of the facility would place both the quality and scope of the current service at risk.

The site and buildings also occupy a special place in the Wallsend community.

The land on which the facility is located was donated to the community by the Newcastle Wallsend Mining Company, and the hospital was built with money raised by miners.

The current facility was established after the controversial closure of Wallsend Hospital in 1991, which stimulated a long term community picket that ended in 1993.

Earlier this year, a petition with more than 10,000 signatures supporting the current community campaign was tabled in the NSW parliament. The NSW Legislative Council has recently voted to support keeping the facility in public hands, under the operation of the Department of Health.

This motion would establish council's general support for the community campaign, to convey this support to the NSW government, and to explore other ways that the council can support the community in this important issue.

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