Gunnedah Rural Health Centre's liquidator finds buyer

BREAKTHROUGH: The future of the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre lies in the hands of the state and federal governments after liquidator Alan Hayes put forward a proposal to them. Photo: Ella Smith
BREAKTHROUGH: The future of the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre lies in the hands of the state and federal governments after liquidator Alan Hayes put forward a proposal to them. Photo: Ella Smith

THE liquidator of the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre has found a buyer to operate from the multi-million dollar centre.

Liquidator Alan Hayes confirmed to the NVI on Thursday morning that three parties - two local and one outside the region - had put forward proposals to purchase the right to run a medical and allied health practice from the building after the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre board appointed him voluntary administrator on Friday, July 7. 

Plans were put in place on that day to have a doctor onsite for several weeks, but the clinic’s last remaining doctor left on July 12. 

The clinic has since been at the centre of much public debate, as the administrator, council, state and federal MPs and the community have all vowed to find a solution.

“I’ve had proposals from three parties, all capable financially and medically to buy it,” Mr Hayes said on Thursday morning.

“I’ve selected one, and that party is committed to providing medical and allied health services to the region.

“It now requires the federal and state governments to consent to my proposal.

“In my view, they’re a perfectly acceptable party.

“They’re financially sound, and have doctors willing, able and ready to be there.

“They’re also committed to the allied health sector.

"They're also committed to assisting the hospital with emergency department rosters and alike."

The clinic was built in 2012 under funding from the state and federal governments and mining companies.

The final decision now lies in the hands of the federal and state governments. 

“It’s hard to say how long that will take,” Mr Hayes said.

“But the longer it takes, the more disadvantaged the community will be.

“The reality is, I’ve had a number of weeks to find a solution to a problem that’s existed for a number of years.

“All we need now is the government to say yes.”

On August 16, Northwest Family Medical made moves to lease the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre at a Gunnedah Shire Council meeting.

This morning, Mr Hayes was not in a position to say which parties put forward the proposals, but said all three had the medical and financial capacity to do so. He has now put forward his chosen party in a proposal to the government. If accepted, all creditors will be paid out.

“If the governments accept my proposal, the creditors will get 100 cents to the dollar,” Mr Hayes said.

"The community will be the beneficiary of the original vision of the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre."

Mr Hayes said it was unusual for creditors to be returned 100 cents to the dollar from a liquidation, and would be disappointed if this wasn’t the outcome.