FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the opportunity to officially open the Ashford Medical Centre reinforced his belief of the importance of providing good services in the smaller communities of the electorate.
He said growing up on the family farm at Danglemah he was aware of the importance to push services out to the regions and out to the corners of the Electorate.
“It’s been a good week for regional communities. We started this on the back of the restructure of the Ashford Masonic Hall and we now have another great service for the community,” Mr Joyce said.
He said the announcement by the NSW Nationals to spend $30 million to re-develop the Inverell Hospital and $60 million for the Armidale Hospital revealed the level of cooperation between the party at both the State and Federal levels.
“Just recently I opened up an extension to the Guyra Medical Centre and we’ll soon be finished the $220 million redevelopment of the Tamworth Hospital.
“We’re trying our very best to make sure between State and Federal levels we get the services out to the people because they deserve them,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce also congratulated the Inverell Shire Council on its proactive policies to get services to ratepayers throughout the Shire.
“It doesn’t just look into the centre of Inverell, it looks out into the edges,” Mr Joyce said.
“It’s extremely important that is also recognised,” he said.
“I find it a real joy to come here and see the people who are so proud of Ashford, so proud of what everyone has done together, putting their shoulders to the wheel and raising money for this important asset,” he said.
Mr Joyce said Ashford residents can show visitors and potential residents their new medical centre and they can say, “We have something significant”.
“You need that security for parents with children, that they have somewhere to go if their children are sick.
“It’s a sign where you can say to people, I’ll show you our medical centre to give them a sense of security, where they can say I’m happy to move and live in Ashford and that’s a good thing.
Mr Joyce said the Ashford Medical Centre had received a funding pledge prior to the last Federal Election, however with a change of government any uncontracted funds were swept up by Treasury.
“I said when I took on this role as your Federal Member, I wouldn’t do it without important projects like this one not being funded,” he said.