(Australian Associated Press)
It’s going to cost taxpayers more than $1 million a day for the next 29 years, but the South Australian government says it remains a good deal as it finally gets the keys to the new $2 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital.
More than a year behind schedule, the government has signed off on commercial acceptance of the new facility it believes will be one of the best hospitals in the world.
It has already begun training thousands of staff and remains on track to start treating patients from early September.
Under the terms of the public-private partnership, the government has insisted on a number of problems with the hospital, including issues with the cooling system, being fixed before taking control of the facility.
That delay has effectively saved SA about $400 million over the past year but it must now start making payments to the tune of $380 million a year.
“I make no apologies for that,” Health Minister Jack Snelling told reporters on Wednesday.
“This is a world-class asset. A hospital like this doesn’t come in an Ikea flat pack.
“It is an extremely complex piece of public infrastructure. We need to get it right.”
Premier Jay Weatherill said commercial acceptance was a key milestone for the project, which was first announced during the term of his predecessor Mike Rann.
The premier said it would be the best hospitals in Australia and one of the best in the world.
“It is a commitment to first-class medical treatment in this state,” he said.
SA’s payment arrangement with the development consortium continues for the next 29 years during which time the developers remain responsible for its maintenance and for other services including catering, cleaning and security.
At the end of the 29-year period, the consortium must hand over the facility to the government “in new condition”.