Struggling public hospital REFUSES to accept a $15M donation – because it was made by a coal mining company
- Wyong Hospital, on NSW’s Central Coast, has refused a $14.8million donation
- Wallarah 2 Coal Project offered to inject the funds over the mine’s 28-year life
- The reasons for rejection were ‘community sentiment’ and ‘public health effects’
- The struggling facility’s decision to snub the offer has been criticised by officials
A struggling hospital has been accused of ‘ideological grandstanding’ after turning down a $15million cash injection – because it came from a coal mining company.
Wyong Hospital, on the NSW Central Coast, has been dogged by complaints over low nurse numbers and emergency wait times – and last October sent a one-year-old home with a fractured neck without staff ordering scans.
But the hospital board has refused Wallarah 2 Coal Project’s offer to donate $14.8million over the mine’s 28-year life span because of ‘community sentiment’ and ‘public health effects’.
Wyong Hospital (pictured) has refused a $14.8million donation from a coal company despite myriad complaints about its limited resources
The project, due to begin in 2022, has been approved by the state government and the independent planning commission, which takes into consideration pollution and health impacts.
Wyong Coal Wallarah 2 general manager Peter Allonby and site manager Kenny Barry claimed a board member said hospital board members compared the handout to ‘taking money from a tobacco company’, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Central Coast Local Health District boss Andrew Montague released a statement this week stating the offer was not appropriate ‘to accept at this stage’.
‘(This is) due to current community sentiment and potential public health effects, particularly in relation to air quality and noise pollution,’ he said.
It is common for mining companies to pour money into local community infrastructure, and the state government alone rakes in $2billion from industry royalties annually.
The contribution would be an average of $528,000 a year – or the wages of at least six nurses.
Wallarah 2 Coal Project’s $800billion mine (site pictured) has been approved and will begin construction in 2022
According to the Department of Planning and Environment, the $800million mine is expected to create more than 1,700 direct and indirect jobs.
The hospital board’s decision to reject the funds has been criticised by officials, but many within the community have launched online petition to stop the mine.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the decision would impact the Wyong community.
‘For them to reject what is a very generous donation from a company wanting to be a good corporate citizen is a slap in the face for that community,’ he said.
The father of the one-year-old sent home with a fractured neck last year described the refusal to accept the offer as a ‘slap in the face’.