State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has welcomed the plan released by Hunter New England Local Heath District to modernise and expand the John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct, but has called for better collaboration for the necessary infrastructure needed around the health precinct.
The plans and vision released by Mr DiRienzio yesterday identified a number of key problems with the site. Access, egress and parking are already major issues for staff and visitors to the precinct and these plans for expansion will only exacerbate the problems.
The Newcastle Inner City Bypass Stage 5 is already years behind its promised start date and is likely another 2 years off starting construction. The staff car park is already at capacity, the internal road network is already congested, Lookout Road is at capacity and now there are plans to start construction on the precinct before other infrastructure is in place.
With the promise of a 2026 completion date for the expansion, Ms Hornery is calling for better collaboration between the RMS and Health departments to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place before construction starts, and solutions to address the ongoing parking and traffic problems are addressed.
Quotes attributable to Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery
“For the last few days, the lack of infrastructure in the Wallsend electorate has been a major focus. The plan for the upgrade of the John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct is a very welcome announcement.”
“Planning for the future growth of the health needs of the Lower Hunter is vitally important. We have emergency departments overflowing, waiting lists for appointments with specialists and surgery blowing out, full staff car parks, a congested internal road network and external roads surrounding the precinct at breaking point.”
“Staff and visitors are waiting for more than an hour to exit the campus on a daily basis. Last week we saw the road network grind to a halt after a fatal traffic accident nearby in Rankin Park.”
“Now we see the Hunter New England Local Health District pushing ahead with a 2026 completion date for the precinct, without a second entrance to be provided with the completion of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass.”
“This would see construction on the precinct utilising the single entry and exit point on Lookout Road. The consequences of this would be reprehensible.”
“We have the Newcastle Private Hospital in the precinct about to begin its own park and ride service for staff because of the ongoing parking and traffic issues. Despite the Local Health District acknowledging the ongoing issues, they are refusing to take any steps to alleviate the problems or work to fast track the Bypass.”
“I have been waving this red flag in front of their faces for years and now it is time for some collaboration on the issues.”
“I will be seeking an urgent meeting with both the Health and Roads Ministers to discuss fast tracking the Newcastle Inner City Bypass and other solutions such as a park and ride service until construction is complete.”