Perth Children’s Hospital: Minister defends government after defects report

Perth Children's Hospital.
Perth Children's Hospital.

HEALTH Minister John Day has defended the State Government’s handling of the new Perth Children’s Hospital, after Labor revealed documents showing more than 3000 defects at the building site.

New documents released by the Department of Health as part of a Freedom of Information request from the State Opposition include minutes from the Project Control Group, Construction Reports, and Risks and Issues reports from December.

The documents flag 16 identified causes and sources of lead contamination as well as 3012 defects at the hospital.

They also show attempts to resolve lead contamination problems have been unsuccessful and a mechanical clean is required.

Opposition Health spokesperson Roger Cook said the project “has had no oversight from anyone around the Cabinet table and it appears the issues at the hospital are worse than we feared”.

The documents also reveal the project has had breaches of plumbing regulations, stainless steel pipe work requires replacement, problems with fire doors have not been resolved and fire alerts are not working.

Mr Day told Community Newspaper Group that the Government’s “sole focus” at PCH was on the safe commissioning of the facility.

“What these documents really show is the extensive and continuing high level of oversight the State Government has maintained over the managing contractor and the project,” he said.

“Defect rectification happens on all projects – especially on such a complex, mega-building like a children’s hospital.

“What these documents highlight is progress towards completion – at present, there are only about 300 outstanding defects impacting on practical competition, many of which are minor issues.”

Mr Day said the 300 defects “will all need to be addressed before the State accepts this world-class facility”.

“The State Government has, on many occasions, publicly aired its frustration at the ongoing construction issues and subsequent delays in completing the Perth Children’s Hospital.

“Building large hospitals is challenging, but we are continuing to work through PCH issues with the Managing Contractor.

Labor’s treasury spokesperson Ben Wyatt said it seemed there was “no end in sight”.

“There has been gross mismanagement of this major project from the top down – the Premier, the Treasurer and the Health Minister – they are all responsible,” he said.