nRAH’s taxpayer disaster

The State Liberals are demanding the Weatherill Government explain why it isn’t seeking substantial financial penalties from the nRAH builders as result of repeated delays and budget blow-outs in the project.

“The nRAH is now more than $600 million over budget and likely to be a year overdue yet the Weatherill Government is merely asking the builders to set a ‘realistic date for handover’,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.

“What the Health Minister should be demanding is substantial financial penalties from the builders for their failure to deliver the nRAH on time and on budget.

“Taxpayers paid the consortium an extra $68.6 million in a supposed settlement only last September which was meant to guarantee “certainty” about the completion of the project.

“It is farcical that taxpayers are being left to carry the burden of the builder’s failure to complete the nRAH on time and on budget. 

“Establishing a private public partnership (PPP) to construct the nRAH was meant to protect taxpayers from cost blow-outs and delays.

“The Auditor-General this week has confirmed the contract does provide the option of the Government seeking damages.”

Rob Lucas: Is it fair that you agree that there was and is an option of seeking damages the State had in certain circumstances but that it chose not to go down that path because it saw greater sense in negotiating the settlement in September of last year?

Auditor General: Yes, especially because of the timeframes that were in the contract.

The nRAH was originally meant to be handed over to the Weatherill Government on January 18, that date was then pushed back to April 4, and now we simply don’t know when the building will be handed over.

“The more than $600 million cost blow-out is a shocking indictment of the Weatherill Government’s management and that figure doesn’t include the mounting costs associated with the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS),” Mr Lucas said.

“Mr Snelling stands condemned for the ongoing series of crises and disasters within the health portfolio.”