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Canberra
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Canberra Hospital expansion construction to start in 2021

The ACT Government has today (Tuesday 11 August) announced the next step in the Canberra Hospital expansion, naming global construction company Multiplex as the early contractor involvement partner.

The company was named as a shortlisted applicant alongside Lendlease earlier this year, to undertake the new emergency, surgical and critical healthcare building as part of the Canberra Hospital Expansion (CHE).

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said this crucial step meant the project remained on its timeline for a 2024 completion of the SPIRE project.

“We have been busy preparing the hospital campus over the past 12 months to pave the way for works on a new emergency and critical care facility to start next year,” she said.

“We have already opened a new building for administration of the hospital and works are well underway on a new building eight to house the sexual health centre.”

The CHE will include 60 ICU beds, four of which will be paediatric ICU beds, 22 operating theatres, 55 day surgery beds and an additional 39 emergency department treatment spaces.

The ACT Government has committed $500 million to the project, which was originally set to start construction this year.

The Canberra Liberals slammed the ACT Labor Government on the delay.

“SPIRE is dead. A decade on and Labor hasn’t even figured what to call an expanded hospital let alone deliver it. Under Labor, any hospital redevelopment won’t be delivered until at least 14 years after it was first promised,” Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said.

“Only a Canberra Liberals Government will deliver a proper expansion of the Canberra Hospital and ensure the doors are open before the 2024 election,” Mrs Dunne said.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the major infrastructure project, which would create about 500 jobs during the construction phase, had been through a detailed consultation period with the public.

“This is one of those exercises where we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we hadn’t engaged with the community, if we hadn’t sought to alter designs to reflect the issues that were raised, we would be accused of ramming something through and not listening,” he said.

“Instead we listen, we consult, we adjust, and we adapt and instead the question is that we aren’t delivering the project fast enough.”

Members of the public will have another chance to give feedback on the project when the Development Application for the proposed facility is lodged early next year.

Multiplex regional managing director, David Ghannoum, said the team was looking forward to delivering the project to the Canberra public.

“Having delivered the University of Canberra Hospital in 2017, we are looking forward to reconnecting with the community and will be implementing specific initiatives to support local employment, safety training and the environment,” he said.

One concern raised about the construction process is that availability of parking at Canberra Hospital for staff and visitors, which Ms Stephen-Smith said they had planned for carefully.

“Parking is always an issue at Canberra Hospital as it is for many hospitals around the country. We have, of course, just released the request for tender for the development of the new temporary carpark at the former CIT site in Woden,” she said.

“That will deliver 1,100 staff parking spaces and also enables some work for parking during the construction phase for the CHE so where people need to stage those construction vehicles, that will also be able to occur on that site.”

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