Moura community holds strong as hospital meeting approaches

Trev Evans (centre, in green shirt) sits with other protestors today outside the Moura Hospital.
Trev Evans (centre, in green shirt) sits with other protestors today outside the Moura Hospital.

THERE'S a tense but defiant mood as you drive through the streets of Moura. 

Signs are posted everywhere showing solidarity for the hospital - on homes, cars, businesses and even on the bitumen - and a picket line has been formed outside the building in question. 

Those who can't spend the day on the front line, drop food and water by to keep the protestors looked after. 

Signs in support of the Moura hospital are everywhere around the small mining town.
Signs in support of the Moura hospital are everywhere around the small mining town.

Trev Evans sits among a group of ten or so, surrounded by signs, and every few minutes a car drives past and beeps the horn in a show of support. 

He grew up in Moura, and has raised four children and now two grandchildren during his 47 years in the town. 

"It makes us mad," Mr Evans says.

"We're producing all this wealth for the rest of the country and any fair minded person would expect things to get better but actually it's getting worse

"I think everybody here, we're all trying to do something to save this hospital because it's such an important part of the community. 

"They're pretty flippant when they talk and they say they're going to close the hospital or reduce services and it rolls off their tongue pretty easily, but the fact of the matter is that we all know that someone will die because of it, whether that be our sons, daughters, elderly parents or our loved ones, that will be the reality of it."

Businesses were closing early to prepare for the evening's meeting.
Businesses were closing early to prepare for the evening's meeting.

He still has hope for tonight's meeting however. 

"We're just hoping that someone will see common sense... the outcry will be there from every sector and they've referred to us as union thugs, you know, you look around here we're not union thugs.

"The unions always been an important part of this town and they've helped us get what we have got. The way I look at it is the union is here, where's our local member of parliament (Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney)? We haven't seen him, he hasn't turned up to any of our meetings and everything we read in the press is negative to all of us here in Moura. 

"He's not from my side of politics but I would've expected no matter what his political persuasion, if any people in his electorate are threatened, their safety and well being especially, we expect the member to be here - he's conspicuous by his absence."

Mr Evans expects emotions at the meeting will stay controlled, and they've been advised it will be shut down if things get out of hand.

However, for the community of Moura, emotions are hard to ignore when remembering the town's tragic history and the role the hospital has played over the years. 

"They ask about who's going to pay," Mr Evans says.

"Over the years that this mine has been open, since this hospital's been built, the community's paid with sweat and blood. 

"It's always there (the history of mine disasters) people are still suffering today from that, the families and loved ones of those men are still suffering and now you get a kick in the guts like this.

"It just seems like this is being used as a political football, we need someone to take leadership whether it be state of federal or both, get off their high horses, stop playing politics and do the right thing."

Jessica Blyton grew up in Moura and now lives in the town with her husband and three children. She is pictured with daughter Patricia, 5 and son Zachary, 3.
Jessica Blyton grew up in Moura and now lives in the town with her husband and three children. She is pictured with daughter Patricia, 5 and son Zachary, 3.

Mother of three Jessica Blyton grew up in Moura, and says she and her husband would consider relocating if the hospital was closed. She says having the hospital open and 24/7 care available is what's most important to her. 

One of her son's and her husband have both had their lives saved at the hospital, and Mrs Blyton felt so passionately about the issue she painted signs of support on her car and house. 

"It's just up the street from where we live so it's just a drive away or an ambulance," she said.

"I was only up there last week to get my youngest son's head glued up. If it wasn't there we would've had to travel, it wasn't too bad but it's basic first aid that we need. "

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