What now for Bendigo Hospital plan? 

Editorial: Bendigo community's big questions need answers

THE preferred design for the new $630 million Bendigo Hospital could be shelved because of a new state government building industry code that bans builders making deals with unions.

The Bendigo Advertiser believes a preferred tender put to the state government by the new hospital working party is considered far superior to any other option.

However, the Australian builder at the centre of the consortia recommended by the group is facing a four-year ban from Victorian government work because of a deal with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

The recommendation was for the hospital to be built by the Exemplar consortia of Capella, Lend Lease, Siemens and Spotless Services.

Exemplar’s proposal is believed to show impressive vision and details a medical precinct that would see a new hospital built on one site and an exciting plan for the old hospital.

However, there are now questions surrounding whether Bendigo will gets its preferred hospital after the government announced it would ban builders from bidding for government-funded work if they signed deals with unions that did not comply with the state’s construction industry code of conduct.

Builders who end their deals will be permitted to immediately begin bidding for government work.

Lend Lease has signed an agreement with the CFMEU, which includes allowing union flags on work sites, but breaks the rules of the code.

A state government spokeswoman yesterday said the government was committed to building the new hospital, but compliance  with the code was part of the tender. 

“Each project has a way by which tenders are considered, assessed, and decisions made by government,’’ she said.

New Bendigo Hospital executive director David Walker said the hospital was in the middle of a tender process and could not comment.

Related coverage: Bendigo Hospital project in chaos

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