MEMBER for Bathurst Paul Toole has asked whether the NSW Government is serious about community consultation for the city's $200 million hospital redevelopment after less than 24 hours' notice was given for the first in the latest round of sessions.
A media release sent out on Monday morning revealed new images for the proposed redevelopment and announced four new community consultation sessions to be held over Tuesday and Thursday, February 13 and 15.
Mr Toole - who was deputy premier when the $200m project was announced in mid-2022, but whose NSW Coalition has since lost government - said he was surprised by the timing.
"Very little notice has been given to the community, so you've got to start asking the question as to how much community input are they really going to be listening to," he said.
He asked whether the NSW Government was "looking at genuine consultation or is it just health [the health department] ticking a box to say that they've consulted?".
NSW Health Infrastructure was still preparing a response for the Western Advocate to Mr Toole's criticisms as of late on Monday afternoon, but a spokesperson did point to the fact that public feedback on the project is also able to be given through a website and email address.
Meanwhile, as he did in April 2023, when NSW Labor was freshly in power, Mr Toole raised the spectre of the hospital redevelopment of about 15 years ago, when problems with the new facility were being reported only days after the opening.
"People are very nervous in the community because the last time we saw NSW Labor redevelop the hospital, there was cost-cutting that went on, there were services that weren't delivered and there were many problems," he said.
"We don't want to see those same mistakes being made under NSW Labor and that's why we need all these services to be provided and also things around amenities and car parking."
By putting the media release out before 11am on a Monday before a first community consultation session at 9am the next day, Mr Toole wondered whether "they're hoping that nobody will come".