A former Liberal MP says her constituents lost millions in hospital funding by voting her out in favour of an independent in the 2013 federal election. Sophie Mirabella, who is re- contesting her former seat in regional Victoria, says the Abbott government rescinded on a promise of $10 million dollars for a local hospital because she lost the seat.
The former member for of Indi she had secured a commitment for the funding but that commitment was withdrawn after she lost her seat to Independent Cathy McGowan.
‘I had a commitment for a $10 million dollar allocation to the Wangaratta hospital that if elected I was going to announce the week after the election,’ she told a forum in Wangaratta.
‘That is 10 million dollars that Wangaratta hasn’t had because Cathy (McGowan) got elected.’
Greens candidate for Indi, Jenny O’Connor, told the forum the withdrawal of funds is an example of ‘what is wrong with politics.’
‘You only get what you’re promised if you vote for our candidate and it’s got nothing to do with concern about the community,’ The Greens candidate said.
Ms Mirabella says Wangaratta lost the funding because Ms McGowan was not as strong an advocate .
‘It’s about who is a strong advocate when there are dozens of really good cases of hospitals all over regional Australia fighting to get on top of the list.’
‘It’s about who has the ability and the knowlege and the contacts in government to go to the top of the list, Cathy wasn’t able to do it, I will be.’
Earlier in the night, Mrs Mirabella denies she physically blocked sitting MP Cathy McGowan from being photographed with a federal minister.
The incident reportedly occurred with the Assistant Minister for Health Ken Wyatt opened a new wing for a nursing home in regional town of Benalla as the race for the marginal seat heats up.
Independent Cathy McGowan who narrowly defeated Mirabella in the 2013 election says she was told she could not be photographed with Mr Wyatt because the project was funded by a Liberal government.
Initial funding for the project was raised by the local community with the federal government contributing extra funding for four high-care beds.
Ms Mirabella denied she physically blocked Ms McGowan from taking a photo with Mr Wyatt at the plaque commemorating the opening.
‘I emphatically reject reports I pushed Cathy McGowan. Reporter did not even bother 2 call me. A sad return 2 nasty tactics from my opponents’, she tweeted.
During a debate between the two mediated, Ms Mirabella repeated her claim that there was no physical contact.
Ms Mirabella says given her support of campaigns to end violence against women the accusations had ‘gutted’ her.
However Ms McGowan declined to directly refute reports she was pushed.
Ms McGowan also declined to say who she would support in a hung parliament but says she would but ‘Indi first’.
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