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Online campaign raises the $5,000 the government wouldn’t give a rural hospital


A former Cohuna resident has raised $5,000 in an online fundraiser.

The campaign started after Dr Peter Barker told 3AW the government was willing to give $250,000 to penguins but not $5,000 for hospital equipment.

And in just 24 hours, enough was raised to procure an external pacing unit for a defibrillator.

‘It’s fantastic we’ve got the money. It’s disappointing it hasn’t come from the government,’ Dr Barker said.

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People can contribute to the campaign here.


Dr Peter Barker said he wished he was a penguin… Photo: Riverine Herald


A rural doctor told Tom Elliott he’s unhappy the government is quicker to fund penguins than rural hospitals.

Dr Peter Barker from Cohuna District Hospital, 60km northwest of Echuca, said his hospital has been refused an important piece of equipment for several years.

However, the government has stumped up 50 times as much money to protect St Kilda’s penguin population.

He said it sends the impression that rural people don’t matter.

‘It was a contrast to me that other vulnerable species like rural people don’t tend to get much of a spend,’ Dr Barker said on Wednesday.

‘Our cardiac defibrillator needs an external pacing unit, which costs about $5,000.

‘We’ve applied for it a few years in a row and we always get knocked back.

‘I wish I was a penguin sometimes.’

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