The State Liberals are demanding Health Minister Peter Malinauskas release the Master Plan for the redevelopment of the Repat Hospital site for public comment before the sale of the site to ACH Group is finalised.
“Labor seems hell bent on flogging off the iconic Repat site – with its tens of millions of dollars of tax-payer funded health facilities – and allowing it to be broken up for commercial and residential developments,” said Shadow Health Minister Stephen Wade.
“This was categorically ruled out by the Weatherill Government two years ago.
“Having broken its promise to never close the Repat, the least the Weatherill Government can do do is to honour its commitment to consult on the plans for the site.
“The Labor Government has repeatedly promised that the Veteran community and the public will have the opportunity to have their say about the plans for the Repat site.[i]
“However, the community has had not even seen a draft of the master plan, let alone been properly consulted on it.”
In November 2016, ACH gave a firm commitment to “extensive consultations” as part of a detailed master planning process:
“We want to work through with extensive numbers of people what the issues are and what might resolve the issues and which of those issues could we actually build into possibilities on the site.”[ii]
In April 2017, in correspondence to a concerned member of the public, ACH stated:
“… turning to your question regarding community involvement in the formation of the plans, I agree that the community must be involved, and I reiterate our commitment to undertake community consultation regarding the best use of the site.”[iii]
Soon afterwards ACH published a timeframe for the development of the Master Plan that committed the company to consulting with the community after the plan had been drafted.[iv]
Yet in a Committee hearing in November 2017, ACH admitted that they “didn't actually have a public consultation meeting, but what we did was continue to consult with relevant stakeholders …”[v]
“The Repat sale has become a murky, shadowy mess – a re-run of how Labor handles land deals, aka Gillman and the Festival Plaza,” said Mr Wade.
“More than a year after the contract of sale was signed, we still don’t know how much ACH is paying for the site and what it’s planning to do with the many valuable health assets located on it.”
Last month, less than a week before it was due to deliver the Master Plan to Minister Malinauskas, ACH told a Parliamentary Inquiry that it was yet to decide how much of the site would be used for health purposes.
ACH also told the Inquiry that its Master Plan was dependent on the land being rezoned for “mixed use” – a change that opens the door for light industry, warehouses and other inappropriate developments to pop up on the site.
In his rush to get the Repat deal done and dusted by the end of this year, Health Minister Peter Malinauskas is steamrollering through a sale cobbled together by his predecessor when the planned sale of the property to RSL organisations collapsed in October 2016.
If Minister Malinauskas is confident in his and ACH Group’s plans for the Repat site he wouldn’t be afraid to release the Master Plan and seek the community’s views on it.
Timeline published in ACH Group’s Consultation Brochure, July 2017
[i] M. Hamilton-Smith, 21 April 2015, “Repat site retained as health precinct”, Media Release.
[ii] ACH Group. 23 November 2016, Transcript of evidence to the Transforming Health Select Committee, page 359.
[iii] G. Holdich, Chairman, ACH Group. 19 April 2017. Letter to C. Doerr.
[iv] ACH Group, July 2017, Repat Site Consultation Brochure.
[v] ACH Group. 24 November 2017, Transcript of evidence to the Transforming Health Select Committee, page 705.