$1.5bn plan to build a new RAH
MICHAEL OWEN, POLITICAL REPORTER
May 24, 2007 02:15am
Article from: The Advertiser
A $1.5 BILLION plan to relocate the Royal Adelaide Hospital complex to the Adelaide railyards area is being considered by the State Government.
The Advertiser understands the plan involves building a new hospital complex west of the Morphett St Bridge, between the Old Adelaide Gaol and the Convention Centre.
Senior health sources have told The Advertiser they understand the plan may be a key part of the State Budget, to be handed down by Treasurer Kevin Foley on June 7.
Sources also said the proposal had been before State Cabinet. "We're told it has been to Cabinet and signed off on but none of us knows the details," one source said.
A spokeswoman for Mr Foley said last night: "Details of the Budget will be revealed on June 7, when the Budget is handed down."
The relocation is expected to include the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science and Adelaide University Medical School.
Given the high cost of such a huge undertaking, options to pay for it will be a key part of Budget submissions.
Relocating the hospital complex likely would involve a public-private partnership, which uses private sector investment.
This is the model the Government is using for its $216 million so-called "super schools" proposal and $517 million program to build four prison facilities in the state.
The RAH-complex relocation likely would involve commercial development, such as cafes and shops, to lure private investors.
Much of the planning for the proposed relocation is understood to have been driven by Health Department statewide services strategy executive director, David Panter.
Dr Panter is a former chief executive of the Central Northern Adelaide Health Service.
Yesterday, he referred all questions about the proposal to the Health Department's media unit.
A spokeswoman for Health Minister John Hill, who was asked in writing last night by The Advertiser if the minister "could confirm or deny" such a proposal was being considered, declined to comment.
She referred The Advertiser back to the comment from Mr Foley's office that details of the Budget will be revealed on June 7.
Momentum has been growing for the railyards site to be used for a major development.
Influential property industry leader Don Crouch, of Knight Frank, last November said the site was a vast area of land with access to a rundown area of the River Torrens.
"No other capital city in Australia has such a large area of land so close to the city that has not been developed," he said.
Adelaide Convention Centre chief executive Alec Gilbert proposed the construction of a building next to the Morphett St bridge. A consortium also proposed a $200 million hotel, casino and apartment complex.
If the latest proposal involving the RAH is given the green light by Cabinet, it is not known what would happen to the present hospital site but it could be reclaimed as parklands.
That would likely be a popular political move given the controversy over the Victoria Park upgrade.
The relocation also would tie in with the tramline extension, from Victoria Square to the city's West End.
The Government consistently has said health is one of its key spending priorities.
Mr Foley in March said that if possible, he would like to "skew the Budget into spending more on capital", or infrastructure, rather than funding services and programs.
Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith yesterday said the public needed to know the details of any plans. "If they are planning to do what I think they are, which is build right across the train line to connect up with the Torrens, I'm not sure if a hospital or medical complex is the right development for the site," he said.
"It is planning in secret instead of by consultation. If the cost is $1.5 billion, there is no doubt this will be the centrepiece of the State Budget. I just hope it is not an attempt by Mike Rann to build a Taj Mahal as a monument to himself under the guise of investing in health."
Wow, I thought this would never happen (especially after the State Government spent money on adding a new wing). But I hope they do, the RAH is such a disgrace and very outdated, plus it will fill that ugly eyesore on North Terrace aswell as improving the Western North Terrace streetscape.
As for the RAH site, I think it would be a perfect place for a precinct filled with student apartments, foreign university campus, cafes, restaurants, shops, bars, offices etc... or it could be become apart of the Botanic Gardens (nearly doubling the size of the existing one). Though this is going to one massive project (RAH is a huge hospital) plus its going to bring much bulk into that part of the CBD
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