Health infrastructure (16.09.2014)

Written on the 17 September 2014

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is also to the Minister for Health, Mr Davis, and I ask: can the minister update the house on Victoria's health projects, and in particular child-related health projects, and comment on any threats to the future of those projects?

The PRESIDENT -- Order! Before I call on the minister, Mr Davis. I caution him about using the ripping up of agreements as a debating matter.


Hon. D. M. DAVIS (Minister for Health) -- I know the chamber is very twitchy when it comes to ripping up contracts. Members on both sides of the chamber are aware that it is a very topical matter. Across the state people are nervous whenever they get near a contract lest Dan Andrews, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, will come around and rip it up in front of them.

But what I can say -- and I thank Ms Crozier for her question -- is that the government has more than $4.5 billion worth of very large projects around the state. There are small ones as well in country Victoria, and some very large ones -- ones like the Bendigo Hospital agreement between Exemplar Health and the government. This is a huge contract. In fact I only have a part of it here; the full contract is as tall as a 6-foot man. It is an important contract, because it lays out a concession on land and requirements for 25 years into the future. There is $630 million worth of building -- new buildings, a new health service on one site and an integrated cancer service. Exemplar Health and its partners -- and Mr Drum knows them very well -- are doing a magnificent job.Page 9

But what confidence can they have? I have only got the front of the contract here. What would Daniel Andrews do with the contract at Bendigo? We know he wanted a smaller hospital. He was committed only to the small version of the hospital; he was not committed to the large version. I am nervous that if he were elected, he would rip up the contract on Bendigo and revert to the smaller version, which would mean moving the integrated cancer centre across two sites and ferrying people backwards and forwards, as he and Jacinta Allan, the member for Bendigo East in the Assembly, wanted.

Honourable members interjecting.

Hon. D. M. DAVIS -- They were not committed to the big hospital. I think there is a real risk that they will rip up the Exemplar contract, just like they said they will rip up the contract on the east-west link.

Mr Leane interjected.Hon. D. M. DAVIS -- Ms Lovell was with me as we inspected the Bendigo project and saw -- --

The PRESIDENT -- Order! Mr Leane!

Mr Leane -- Chicken noises?

The PRESIDENT -- Order! Certainly not. This is not a radio program; it is the Parliament of Victoria. People expect better of Mr Leane and all other members. The minister to continue, and, as I said, not to debate the contract issue and draw a very long bow.

Hon. D. M. DAVIS -- Many in this chamber will remember a point of contention between us and Labor on the Bendigo Hospital was the upscaling. We put more than $102 million of extra money in. We brought the cancer centre onto one site.

Mr Lenders -- On a point of order, President, I put to you that the minister is debating. He says, 'Many in the chamber will remember a point of contention'. This is not an issue of government administration -- the point of contention he was referring to was a debate leading up to the 2010 election. I put to you that points of contention in 2010 are not parts of government administration, nor are they part of the context. He was asked a question on government administration, and I ask you to ask him to stop debating.

Hon. D. M. DAVIS -- On the point of order, President, I am about to describe the new cancer bunkers in the new hospital -- very much part of my administration and under this contract -- and the shape of those bunkers that are being built as we go forward.The PRESIDENT -- Order! I thank Mr Lenders for the point of order. I must say that I am a lot more comfortable with Mr Davis's answer as it is at this point. I take it that he is providing a context to where he has now indicated he is going to move, which was not entirely on the point of order but nevertheless did give us some guidance as to where he is going. As I said, I am a lot more comfortable with this than I was with the earlier debating matter in terms of the value of contracts.

Hon. D. M. DAVIS -- The bunkers are large and magnificent, and there is growth scope for the future on those bunkers too.

Again, that stands in stark contrast -- as Ms Lovell, Mrs Millar and Mr Drum will understand -- to Labor's plan, which was to have the bunkers and the rest of the cancer centre separated so that you would have to get a -- --

Hon. D. K. Drum interjected.

Hon. D. M. DAVIS -- That is right, by a large road. You would have to get an ambulance across, or you could hobble over, I suppose, but it was a long distance. We believe very much that these bunkers need to be located in an integrated cancer centre, a full cancer centre that gives the people of central and northern Victoria and Bendigo the quality of cancer service they deserve. I was very proud to be there inspecting the bunkers the other day with Mrs Millar and Ms Lovell and to actually see the progress that is being made there. No-one in Bendigo can be but struck by the enormous progress and by the size of the new hospital that is going up. That is in stark contrast to Labor's half-baked plan.At the other end of the state, we have also signed a significant contract at Monash Children's. I can tell you that the Premier was very proud to be turning the first sod recently at Monash Children's -- a $250 million hospital that Labor never built. It had 11 years to build it. It knew for nine years that it needed to be built and it did not do it. It never committed one zack of budget money to Monash. But I will tell you what: if it got elected, it could get this contract and tear it up tomorrow. I would fight against it, but members opposite would not.

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