Paul Lennon has a short memory when it comes to Labor’s mismanagement of a new Royal Hobart Hospital – Labor spent more than $150 million of taxpayers money on the project yet failed to lay a single brick of the new inpatient precinct.
It was Paul Lennon himself in 2006 who said “Labor is rebuilding the Royal from the inside out, rather than looking at a new site”, only to change his mind six months later but refuse to release advice on why.
Labor then wasted over $10 million planning a waterfront hospital before abandoning that plan and coming full circle to conclude the best option was to rebuild on site, which then Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne promised would be complete by 2016. Laughable.
After eight years of Labor chasing their tails, it took a Liberal Government to rescue the Royal Redevelopment in 2014, and we did so despite also inheriting their appaling mess.
We also inherited a binding contract for the onsite redevelopment, putting paid to any notion that the Liberal Government could have simply started yet again at the waterfront. A move that would have put the project off by a decade.
History shows that Labor have no idea on how to manage major projects or money, and some things never change.
It is the Hodgman Liberal Government that both started and will deliver a new Royal Hobart Hospital and an 250 extra beds to meet rising demand.
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 – Barlett 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 (State election) – RHH project not even started.
Michael Ferguson is Minister for Health