Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

13 December 2019

Sarah Courtney, Minister for Health

We are delivering the RHH redevelopment that Labor failed

In a case of astonishing hypocrisy Labor wants to talk RHH anniversaries, when the fact stands it is the Hodgman majority Liberal Government that will deliver the redeveloped Royal Hobart Hospital.

Paul Lennon said in 2006 “Labor is rebuilding the Royal from the inside out, rather than looking at a new site”, only to change his mind six months later refusing to release advice outlining why.

Labor then spent over $10 million planning a waterfront hospital before concluding the best option was in fact to rebuild on site.

In 2010, the then Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne promised Tasmanians that the project would be completed by 2016.

But not one brick was laid by lazy Labor in four years.

The project was left in complete disarray, with plans to send acute mental health patients out to the suburbs.

This was confirmed in a horror Auditor-General report released in January 2014. The Report found:

  • The Labor-Green Government had totally mismanaged one of the largest health infrastructure projects ever built;
  • Work on the redeveloped hospital hadn’t even started, despite the need for a new hospital identified in 2005; and
  • The project was dogged by impaired and “weak” governance and project budget overruns.

It took a Liberal Government to rescue the Royal Redevelopment in 2014, and it is now in the final stages of completion with commissioning on track to commence in February.

Many anniversaries have now come and gone since Michelle O’Byrne said the RHH would be completed in 2016.

What is clear is that Labor stands for nothing and has no alternative plan.

In contrast, the Hodgman majority Liberal Government is focused on building a better health system and will deliver the Royal Hobart Hospital Redevelopment.

Completion of the new K-Block inpatient precinct is imminent, with the final fit-out nearing completion. The building will undergo rigorous inspection, testing and defect rectification to ensure that it meets all specified requirements and is safe and ‘fit‑for‑purpose’.  This will be followed by the commissioning of services into K-Block, which is on track for a February commencement.

Labor’s timeline of inaction

2006 – Lennon wants to rebuild the RHH from the inside-out, but six months later says a Greenfields site is best.

2007 – Lennon and Giddings announce Cabinet had selected railyards site for a new RHH.

2009 – Bartlett and Giddings rule out the railyards site because of the prohibitive up-front cost.

2010 – Giddings commits to redeveloping RHH on existing site.

2012 – O’Byrne says the new Royal (inpatient precinct) will be completed by early 2016.

2012 - O'Byrne removes helipad from project.

2013 – O’Byrne said the project won’t be completed until 2017 – a year behind schedule.

2014 – Horror Audit-General report into the RHH released in January, project not even started by the election

2016 – Labor deadline for the RHH rebuild passes

2018 – Labor call on the Government to halt the project and move the ICU

2020 – Hodgman Liberal Government delivers what Labor failed to do

More Media Releases from Sarah Courtney

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