Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services) (12:19): I rise to update the house on the progress that the Andrews Labor government is making on our landmark new Footscray Hospital. This week marks the next phase of the project, with the search getting underway for the project’s builder. The new hospital will feature 504 beds and will be built next to Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus, replacing the current hospital that was built back in the 1950s. It will be delivered as a public-private partnership, and invitations for expressions of interest will open later this week to secure a consortium partner for the design, construction, finance and maintenance of the $1.5 billion hospital. This is the biggest investment in a hospital that our state has ever seen.
On Monday I visited the site of the new Footscray Hospital together with Katie Hall, the member for Footscray, to announce the members of the project’s community consultation committee that will be chaired by Ms Hall. The committee will ensure locals will have a say on the project and will include representatives from key organisations such as council, health service providers and the local community. The project will help transform Melbourne’s inner west into a health, education and research precinct and create up to 2000 construction jobs in the process. The bigger and better Footscray Hospital will cut waiting times and allow almost 15 000 additional patients to be treated and almost 20 000 additional patients to be seen in the emergency department each year. It will allow up to 17 000 local residents to get treatment without having to visit hospitals in Melbourne’s CBD.
It is just one of the projects funded in this year’s budget, which kicks off our government’s massive $3.8 billion pipeline of hospital projects, ensuring patients get the very best care when they need it the most, close to home. In fact our investment in this year’s budget alone is more than the previous coalition government invested during their entire four-year term. Unlike those opposite, who sat on their hands for four years, we are making an unprecedented investment in our health infrastructure, building on our $3.2 billion investment during our first term.