Push for new Bendigo Hospital answers at first Parliament sitting

At the year’s first sitting of Parliament this week, Bendigo Labor MPs Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards will ask why construction of the new Bendigo hospital did not start in 2012, as per its deadline.

Mr Allan and Ms Edwards will put several questions regarding the Bendigo hospital tender process to Liberal Health Minister David Davis when parliament resumes, including when construction of the hospital will begin and end.

Construction of the $630 million hospital was due to start late last year, but disagreements with tenderers Lend Lease left the starting date in limbo.

Lend Lease signed an agreement with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union late last year, which goes against the state government’s Code of Construction.

Ms Allan accused Mr Davis of being elusive when asked when construction of the hospital would begin.

“Parliament is one place where Mr Davis can’t hide,” she said.

“On behalf of the local community, Maree Edwards and I will be pushing for answers.”

Mr Davis said he looked forward to the opportunity to answer Ms Edwards’ and Ms Allan’s questions, but said he may be restricted by the live tender process that is under way.

“I’ll have to be cautious not to breach any requirements because the tender has to be fair and assessed on their merits (so) I will answer within the constraints of a live tender.”

He said the current tender was at a “best and final offer” stage and expected to be resolved with six or seven weeks.

The questions:

- Why was the deadline of 2012 missed for the start of construction?

- Why has the government chosen to include the new Bendigo hospital project under its Code of Construction after the tender process had started?

- Why won’t the Liberal National government... keep the Bendigo hospital out of the code to put the tender process back on track?

- Will Lend Lease be allowed to stay in the tender process?

- When will the hospital start and, crucially, will it be completed by 2016?

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