Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 828 ..
Canberra Hospital, your government made a last-minute election commitment to open the surgical procedures, interventional radiology and emergency centre, commonly known as the SPIRE, in 2022. The documents associated with the tender for the design of the SPIRE indicate that it will not open until late 2024. Other than the obvious fact that this was policy on the run that had inadequate detail at the time, why is the government not delivering SPIRE according to its election promise?
MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Hanson for the question and welcome his return to asking health questions. It was the case that the government made previous decisions to not proceed with a particular expansion of Canberra Hospital. But I recall that it was on the first day of the election campaign that ACT Labor committed to a significant investment in the Canberra Hospital campus, on the northern end of the Canberra Hospital campus, known as the SPIRE centre. We have backed up day one of the 2016 election campaign commitment with a $236 million investment in last year’s budget. The first down payment for the very significant SPIRE centre—
Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order on relevance. The question is very much about why the SPIRE is not going to be completed by the promised date, which was 2022. I ask the minister to address that issue rather than talk about other commitments that have been made.
MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson. Minister, you have 45 seconds remaining. Can you please—
MS FITZHARRIS: Madam Speaker, I was in fact responding to a number of inaccurate claims that Mr Hanson made in the preamble to his question. Since the government’s $236 million investment in last year’s budget, detailed planning work has been undertaken. The SPIRE centre is now scheduled to be delivered in the 2023-4 financial year.
MR HANSON: Minister, why didn’t you do the necessary planning for this proposal before you made the 2016 election commitment to deliver SPIRE in 2022, given that you can no longer do that?
MS FITZHARRIS: We are doing exactly what we committed to do in 2016, which was undertaking the detailed planning. A half billion dollar investment in a major, new hospital wing and building requires careful planning and consideration that will continue to evolve. The community can expect to see this Labor government continue to invest in health infrastructure across our community, including adding to the $236 million down payment we have already made on the SPIRE Centre.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, you asked the question. Allow the minister to answer. Do you have anything further to add?
MS FITZHARRIS: No.