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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 August 2017) . . Page.. 2382 ..

Canberra Hospital—infrastructure

Debate resumed.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.04): The Greens will be supporting Mrs Dunne’s motion today. It is appropriate that the Assembly and the ACT community have the opportunity to scrutinise the government’s responses to issues of infrastructure risk at ACT Health facilities, including at the Canberra Hospital. The maintenance of healthcare facilities is fundamentally important to having a health system that provides high quality and effective services for all Canberrans.

The AECOM report was commissioned by the government in 2015 to define future needs and develop an asset condition report for ACT Health facilities. AECOM undertook a high-level desktop review and visual inspections at ACT Health facilities, and the final report provides a comprehensive assessment of the conditions of each asset. The final report identifies approximately 600 issues which have been risk assessed and indicatively costed for any maintenance work required.

While 600 issues sounds like a lot, this number needs to be understood in context. The AECOM review covered 31 different ACT Health facilities, and within those facilities there were a number of campuses with multiple buildings. The review of the Canberra Hospital covered 23 buildings, and at Calvary hospital 22 buildings were assessed. ACT Health is a broad and complex system that manages a number of facilities and provides a wide range of services. I do not mean to minimise the issues presented in the report; I simply raise these numbers to highlight the complexity of the environment that ACT Health is managing.

It is clear that there are a number of ACT Health assets that require urgent maintenance and upgrading, and the government should be, and is, in the process of addressing each of these issues as a priority. AECOM estimated that addressing the extreme and high-risk issues at the Canberra Hospital alone will require significant investment. In response to this the government has committed substantial funding to maintain and improve ACT Health infrastructure through both last year’s and this year’s budgets.

The AECOM report also details what kinds of maintenance issues the report referred to. AECOM found that 77 per cent of costs associated with issues at the Canberra Hospital related to building engineering services. These are matters such as water tanks and supply systems, cooling towers, fans, fire alarms, lighting, security services and lifts. These are all crucially important to the successful running of any large building but particularly one as complex and busy as a major hospital. These are the systems that create the environment that allows our health professionals to provide high quality care to patients. That is why the government needs to respond to all the issues identified in the AECOM report, with immediate priority going to those assets assessed as at extreme or high risk.

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