Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood has used debate in Parliament this week to call on the Minister for Health to intervene in the drawn out search for a permanent location for an ambulance station in Drouin.
‘Drouin is the largest town in country Victoria still without a permanent 24 hour ambulance facility,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘Drouin has a population of around 16,000 and is growing at a rapid rate that will see it reach an expected 20,000 local residents by 2020.
‘Ambulance Victoria funded the staff allocation for a 24 hour service in Drouin over 12 months ago.
‘While staff are located in Drouin at a temporary station during daylight hours, outside those hours they are located at Warragul ambulance station, 10 minutes further east.
‘As a result the response times to Drouin and further west to towns like Longwarry and Bunyip are seriously compromised in the evening.
Mr Blackwood said Ambulance Victoria now needed the support of the Minister to find a permanent facility that would allow for the 24 hour service to operate and serve the surrounding communities as originally intended when funding was provided nearly two years ago.
‘Ambulance Victoria has been trying to secure another temporary location in Drouin that can be staffed 24 hours a day and I understand that this facility will become available later this year.
‘It is disappointing that almost two years since funding was provided for a 24 hour station a suitable permanent site has still not been found.
‘Today I call on the Minister to intervene and prioritize the search for a new permanent Ambulance Victoria facility in Drouin.
‘The safety of residents in one of the fastest growing communities in Victoria does not deserve to be left exposed to very poor ambulance response times any longer.
‘Our hard working ambulance officers also deserve to be located in the community they are serving at a location that gives them the best opportunity possible to respond as quickly as possible.
‘Having Ambulance Victoria staff located in a proper location in Drouin will also enable much quicker response times to the south, north and west in towns such as Bunyip, Tynong, Drouin West, Drouin South, Athlone and Ripplebrook,’ said Mr Blackwood.