October 15, 2014  |  Members Statements

Ann Nichol House

Over the last nine months members in this house would have heard me raise the issue of Ann Nichol House aged-care facility numerous times. Over that time I have tabled a petition on behalf of more than 1300 residents of Bellarine, asked questions of various ministers and sought guarantees on behalf of the community that Ann Nichol House would not be handed over to a private operator.

On 18 September that happened. What is absolutely clear is that the Minister for Health in particular has misled the community of Bellarine and played an active role in facilitating the sale of Crown land to Bellarine Community Health and then to Arcare. This commenced from at least March of this year. He looked into the eyes of Ann Nichol and other community representatives and said he could do nothing, while at the same time he was actively involved in selling the land.

The entire sale process, and particularly the sale of Crown land stinks. There is a smell about it.

As a result, I wrote on 24 September to the Auditor-General and on 8 October to the Ombudsman seeking an investigation into that sale process. On 17 September the land was sold to Bellarine Community Health on the basis that the facility would be extended and the improvements would then be owned by Bellarine Community Health. On 18 September, the next day, the board of Bellarine Community Health voted to sell freehold the former Crown land and buildings to Arcare, a private operator, with the final sale contract to be completed on 28 November, a day before the election. This government, and the Minister for Health in particular, has let down the community of Bellarine and ignored its interests.