The Cook Labor Government’s signature election commitment for Geraldton, the redevelopment of the Geraldton Health Campus, won’t be finished until at least 2027 – over a decade after it was first promised.
Shadow Regional Health Minister Martin Aldridge MLC lashed the Labor Government for ongoing delays and massive budget blow-outs laid bare in the Auditor General’s 2023 Transparency Report: Major Projects released this week.
“The Auditor General’s report identifies the Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment as WA’s most-delayed project, with Labor continuing to kick the can down the road year on year, leaving Mid West resident fed up with the lack of progress,” Mr Aldridge said.
“This critical project was first promised in the lead-up to the 2017 State Election, yet six years on, it has become a stark reminder of the Cook Government’s apathy towards healthcare, and regional health in particular.”
Mr Aldridge said the failure to progress the project beyond the procurement stage after more than six years demonstrated Labor’s lack of commitment to Geraldton and the Mid West.
“Labor’s decision to put the project to tender with unrealistic project costs has resulted in the most lengthy procurement process I’ve ever witnessed, and one which is still not completed.
“As recently as the State Budget estimates, the Minister for Health made assurances that construction will commence before the end of 2023, yet that promise grows more and more doubtful with each passing day.”
Mr Aldridge said given the lengthy delays, it was disappointing the State Government had not used the opportunity to future-proof the development with a commitment to a radiation oncology unit and an on-site helipad.
“The Federal Government has committed $9 million towards a radiation oncology unit for the Mid West, yet the State Government has stubbornly refused to match funding for this game-changing project which would save residents more than 400 trips to Perth each year.
“Additionally, the Chief Health Officer’s aeromedical inquiry found hospital helipad infrastructure to be inadequate and was severely limiting the expansion of the rescue helicopter network.”
Mr Aldridge said local MP Lara Dalton had been ineffective in her advocacy for the Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment.
“While Ms Dalton proudly proclaims on her website that she is ‘getting on with the redevelopment of Geraldton Hospital’ no new work has occurred on the project since her election in 2021, and it will still be dragging on well beyond the next election,” he said.
“It’s time for Ms Dalton to stand up for her constituents and demand the Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment be made a priority for this Perth-focused Labor Government.”
The Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022 at a cost of $45 million. The current project now sits at over $122 million with an estimated completion of early 2027.