MPs tour planned projects

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, Merindah Lodge manager Linda Hubbard, Member for Polwarth Richard Riordon, South West Healthcare chief executive officer John Krygger, director of service development James Brennan and South West Healthcare board chairman John Maher discuss plans for a total rebuild of Merindah Lodge.

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, Merindah Lodge manager Linda Hubbard, Member for Polwarth Richard Riordon, South West Healthcare chief executive officer John Krygger, director of service development James Brennan and South West Healthcare board chairman John Maher discuss plans for a total rebuild of Merindah Lodge.

SOUTH West Healthcare’s plans to rebuild its Camperdown campus and Camperdown Dairy Company’s plans to continue growth into the Asian market were front and centre of a familiarisation tour by local politicians on Friday.

Member for Wannon and newly appointed Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence materiel Dan Tehan and Member for Polwarth Richard Riordon spent Friday afternoon learning the finer details of both projects.

South West Healthcare chief executive officer John Krygger said the hospital had conceptual plans for a $30 million rebuild of the facility’s aged care (Merindah Lodge) and acute care facilities.

“Both services are mutually dependent on each other,” Mr Krygger said.

“One is not financially feasibile without the other – if one was to be removed, the other would fall down.

“That’s why we want to carry out the construction of both at the same time, so its not a peacemeal approach.”

Camperdown Dairy Company general manager Chris Melville (centre) demonstrates the factory’s behind the scenes mechanisms to Member for Wannon Dan Tehan and Member for Polwarth Richard Riordon.

Camperdown Dairy Company general manager Chris Melville (centre) demonstrates the factory’s behind the scenes mechanisms to Member for Wannon Dan Tehan and Member for Polwarth Richard Riordon.

Mr Krygger said Camperdown’s was one of only a few regional Victorian health facilities that had not been updated.

“Residents pay for the accommodation so if the facilities aren’t up to standard it’s hard to apply costs and much harder to compete,” he said.

“We have the right number of beds in terms of maximising efficiencies, we just need to update the facilities themselves.”

Mr Krygger said South West Healthcare would seek government funding for the project, with the Federal Government responsible for aged care and the State Government for acute care.

South West Healthcare also intends to borrow funds for the project and to call on the community to fundraise.

“Any funds the governments contribute will reduce the amount of money we have to raise or the community has to raise for the project,” he said.

“Any assistance will lessen the pain.”

Mr Tehan said he would invite Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley to visit the Camperdown campus.

“She understands health needs from a regional and rural perspective as the urban model is completely different,” he said.

“It is indeed a wonderful facility and it makes sense to continue to upgrade and modernise it and I will continue to work with the CEO in that regard.”

Mr Riordon praised the upgrade plans.

“It’s an opportunity to work with the Federal level of government on sharing resources for a better outcome for the Camperdown district,” he said.

The two members also toured Camperdown Dairy Company’s (CDC) processing plant and discussed future growth plans.

CDC general manager Chris Melville said the company was now the only Australian listed dairy enterprise that was vertically integrated and one of just two Australian companies that were exporting milk to Shanghai.

“Being vertically integrated is hugely important to the Asian market, so we’re are on the front foot there,” he said.

“We currently produce 200,000 litres of milk each week, 12 tonnes of yoghurt and a couple of tonnes of butter and have aggressive development plans.

“We’re looking to get more of our project into Woolworths and to expand our export markets.”

Mr Melville said the company had the capacity to process 100,000 litres per day and currently processed 350,000 litres per week.

Mr Tehan said he was impressed with the company’s achievements.

“It’s great to come on-site and see what’s happening firsthand,” he said.

“The company is obviously a local success story.  It is employing local people and its expansion plans are very exciting.

“Tours like this also gives us a sense of the business climate at the ground-level and how the export market is going.

“It also gives us a chance to offer encouragement.”

Mr Riordon said it was good to see local people making the best of local resources.

“It’s great for Camperdown and the region,” he said.

“The company is locally controlled and exporting to the rest of the world gives real confidence.”

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