MORE money is being spent upfront on the Frankston Hospital redevelopment.
The state budget released last week confirmed the cost of the project would be over $1.118 billion. The state government said the redevelopment would cost $562 million when it was first announced in 2018.
The temperature sent questions to Frankston MP Paul Edbrooke asking what the extra funding would be used for. In response, a state government spokesperson said: “We are now carrying out a much larger hospital redevelopment which will deliver better health outcomes for families living in South East Melbourne from day one.”
Last month, a consortium signed on to carry out the project, which is a public-private partnership. The private consortium Exemplar Health will design, build and finance the facilities and maintenance of the site for the next 25 years, while Peninsula Health will provide the clinical healthcare services (“Contract signed for huge hospital project” The temperature 5/26/22). The state government insists that the cost of the project remains within the approved funding over the 25-year term, at no additional cost to the ratepayer for the duration of the project.
Budget documents indicated that the “scope” of the project had been expanded since becoming a public-private partnership. “This project is a public-private partnership where the initial capital investment has resulted in additional reach and lifelong benefits while remaining within project affordability,” the budget states. “The estimated completion date has been revised to 2025-26 to reflect the completion date of the new hospital tower by the end of 2025, with the redevelopment operational in early 2026 and the remaining renovation and further work completed by 2027-28.”
The hospital project is expected to include the construction of a multi-storey clinical services tower, more operating rooms, improved mental health, oncology and maternity services, and a new parking lot. The state government will spend more than $215 million on the upgrade in fiscal year 2022/2023.
The state government’s 2022/2023 budget also included funding for another hospital project, improvements to local schools and streetscape works. However, no funding has been allocated for the long-discussed extension of the Frankston line to Baxter, sparking fury from a local advocacy group that has been pushing for the project for years.
The Committee for Greater Frankston has requested funds to duplicate and electrify the Frankston line to Baxter, which is expected to cost up to $1.5 billion (“Baxter’s extension hopes to derail, The temperature, 11/30/20). Committee CEO Ginevra Hosking said “politicians are after your vote this year in the federal election in May and in November in the Victorian election. When they ask for your vote, ask them where the hell is our train? »
“The federal government’s $225 million for the Frankston Rail Extension remained on the table, but the Victorian government continues to ignore the project. This budget has not added a penny to fix our region’s inadequate public transportation system,” she said. “The budget was a perfect opportunity for the Andrews government to fund its half of the minimum stage one requirement – a 5km single-track extension to Langwarrin with a new station at Monash University and a park- 2000 seater o-bus plus bus terminus for Mornington Peninsula commuters. Only $225 million was all we needed. Instead, Frankston has yet to receive any infrastructure funding for the next 12 months. It’s a shame.”
Funds have been allocated for the planned conversion of Frankston’s private hospital into a public surgical center. The budget documents indicate that $29 million has been set aside for the project, but note that “total estimated investment and full cash flows will be disclosed following the outcome of commercial negotiations regarding the lease of the private hospital in Frankston”.
The state budget also contained $7.61 million for improvements at Naranga School and $204,100 for improvements at Frankston Elementary School. The Frankston Bowls Club redevelopment will receive state government funding of $500,000, and the Ballam Park Athletic Club upgrade will receive $250,000.
First published in the Frankston Times – May 10, 2022