Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has officially tabled a petition calling on the Government to start planning for the future of Cowra Hospital.

The petition collected 3,706 signatures, with Ms Cooke addressing the House on Tuesday.

“Built in 1958, this old exposed brick giant has been the site of much pain, joy, gain and loss for the Cowra community over its 60 years,” Ms Cooke addressed Parliament.

“In sickness and in health Cowra’s 10,063 residents have undoubtedly at some point come into contact with this place.

“In its walls are memories, dark and light, of lives born, saved and lost.

“But both our population and the way we deliver health services have changed over the last 60 years. The time has come for a modern hospital that we can all be proud of.”

Ms Cooke also acknowledged the diversity of opinions and feedback received throughout the petition process, with differing opinions in the community as to upgrading the existing facility or building a new facility.

She said it was vital that master planning funds were allocated to help resolve this.

“The people of this region are intelligent, they’ve got different ideas about the best way forward for their old hospital,” Ms Cooke said.

“Where we stand together, is in the reasonable request that their future, the future health needs of their children and grandchildren be put firmly on the Government’s agenda.

“It’s my commitment to make this happen, and to keep it there, until we see planning funds delivered.”

Ms Cooke extended her thanks in Parliament to Mayor Bill West and Cowra Council for their advocacy and support.

As the signatures total more than 500, the petition requires a formal response from the Health Minister, Brad Hazzard.