Federal Labor delivers $4.7m for a maternity ward at Yass Hospital

The federal Labor Party has committed to $4.7 million to build a low-risk maternity ward at Yass Hospital.

The party's health and Medicare spokeswoman Catherine King and member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly made the promise on Thursday, May 2.

Back on the cards: Labor's health and Medicare spokeswoman Catherine King and member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly (middle) promise local mothers $4.7 million to return maternity services to Yass Hospital.

Back on the cards: Labor's health and Medicare spokeswoman Catherine King and member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly (middle) promise local mothers $4.7 million to return maternity services to Yass Hospital.

In a joint statement, they said a maternity ward with a fully fitted-out birth room and postnatal room for overnight stays would mean Yass Valley mothers could give birth closer to home.

"Expecting mothers from Yass and surrounding areas are currently forced to travel up to an hour to give birth either in Goulburn or Canberra," the statement said.

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Yass mothers Lindsay Hollingsworth, councillor Jasmin Jones - and very nearly Bec Duncan - gave birth on the side of the Barton Highway on route to out of area maternity wards.

"We're hearing from some of the stories from the mums here that it's a real challenge when you want to give birth in your community and you can't," Ms King said.

"It means you've got to juggle your appointments to ensure yours and your baby's health is going well, but also being able to give birth in your community is an important part of staying connected to your community," she said.

All four mothers were pleased that Labor had listened to their cry for a local place to birth.

"There's a sense of momentum on the issue now," Cr Jones, acting as a private citizen, said.

There were 16,739 people and 185 births in Yass Valley in 2017, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The local government area is expected to grow to 27,726 by 2036, according to Yass Valley Council's Settlement Strategy.

"This is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia and certainly New South Wales, so it's time to get ahead of the curve for the services we need here," Dr Kelly said.

The state government would be responsible for the ongoing costs of a maternity ward at Yass Hospital, such as anaesthetist and obstetrician salaries.

However, elected Liberal member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman previously said she's not in favour of this project.

She said that Labor's announcement had "not been made in consultation with medical professionals and could possibly put lives at risk."

However, Dr Kelly said he was confident that away from the heat of the election, he and Mrs Tuckerman would be able to talk as local members and get the best outcome for the hospital.

Country Labor had also promised $4.7m to bring back maternity services to Yass Hospital, however, that promise was lost at the state election in March.