Member for Morwell Russell Northe has launched an online Parliamentary petition calling upon the state government to build a dedicated hospice in the Latrobe Valley.
Mr Northe had written to the Health Minister Martin Foley to establish a hospice at the now vacant Hazelwood House in Churchill, or elsewhere in the Valley.
Mr Northe is hoping locals will jump aboard the call by signing and sharing the petition, which will be open for eight weeks.
“I have continued to have conversations with many members of our community who are in strong support of this initiative with many reflecting on their own experiences with a loved one, whilst stating how much a hospice is needed in our region,” Mr Northe said.
“Hopefully our petition receives strong support and if we can get hundreds of signatures then it will send a blunt message to the government that as a community we desperately need and want a hospice in our region.”
The petition is pointing out the lack of any dedicated hospice in the Latrobe Valley and wider Gippsland.
It comes as the Latrobe Health Advocate Jane Anderson had highlighted end-of-life care improvements in a 2019 report, with her top recommendation to establish a hospice in Gippsland.
Hazelwood House was put into the hands of Latrobe City Council in 2019, which has it up for sale and had sought expressions of interest for the former aged care facility.
Mr Northe said the place remained vacant and would be ideal to convert it into a hospice, with 38 beds and established gardens.
He said it was located in a “tranquil peaceful area benefiting carers, families and patients who simply want to enjoy the precious special moments they have left”.
“This is why I have established an online petition to request that the Health Minister and the state government explore all options to develop a hospice in the Valley that would ultimately benefit so many individuals and families in our community,” Mr Northe said.
The state government had previously told The Express it had “no plans” to establish a hospice care facility at Hazelwood House.
To sign the petition, visit parliament.vic.gov.au/assembly/petitions/e-petitions/view-sign-e-petitions/details/55/93.