Construction of the new Maitland Hospital is ready to begin.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard joined Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald at the Metford Road site for a sod turning ceremony on Friday, signalling the start of the next stage.
The construction of the $470 million facility will create almost 5000 direct and indirect jobs, bringing an added boost to the city’s economy.
The hospital will open its doors to patients in 2022.
Mr Hazzard thanked the Maitland community and hospital stakeholders for helping to shape the facility.
“The unions actually have been very much on board with what the government is doing … thank you to the Health Services Union and the Nurses and Midwives [Association] for making the point as to what they think that we needed.
We are delivering after listening to all of the community about what was necessary for Maitland and this facility is $470 million,Health Minister Brad Hazzard
“It’s going to create thousands of new jobs for this community and that’s a huge plus.
“There will be a lot of indirect add ons – by the time you get the people bringing the trucks here, who are making the steel, who are doing the cement and concreting, those people are going to add another nearly 2800 jobs.”
Mr MacDonald said health was one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and the site would create opportunities for other health services like chiropractors and physiotherapists to set up nearby.
Mr MacDonald paid tribute to former Maitland MP Robyn Parker and former Health Minister Jillian Skinner for kickstarting the project in 2011 and selecting the site in 2013.
My vision is that it transforms Metford and the wider Maitland area and we will have more specialists who live and work here … The question in my mind is can we get some research happening here as well … maybe partnering with the University of Newcastle,Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald
“This will be a game changer for Maitland,” Mr MacDonald said.
Mr Hazzard, who remarked that Mr MacDonald looked more like an MP than him, praised his efforts and said Maitland was in his blood.
“Scot MacDonald has been instrumental in so much of what has gone on here, so Scot thank you for everything you’ve done,” he said.
Mr MacDonald has not put his hand up to contest the seat of Maitland against Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison and said he was not sure what his future held.