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Women’s and Children’s Hospital legislation clears Upper House

Legislation to fast-track the development of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital has passed the Upper House overnight with the State Government declaring it a “major step forward”.

Nov 02, 2022, updated Nov 10, 2022
Render of the proposed new Women's and Children's Hospital, on the site of the current Thebarton Police Barracks adjacent to Bonython Park. Image supplied by State Govt.

Render of the proposed new Women's and Children's Hospital, on the site of the current Thebarton Police Barracks adjacent to Bonython Park. Image supplied by State Govt.

Legislation which paves the way for the demolition of 10 police buildings on the state heritage-listed Thebarton police barracks and the construction of a new expanded hospital has cleared a major hurdle.

The government passed the bill in the Legislative Council with the support of SA Best and One Nation’s Sarah Game.

A State Government spokesperson said the bill was “crucial in removing planning and development barriers that could increase the new hospital’s cost and construction timeframe”.

The government announced last month its decision to relocate the site location of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital build from the railyards site immediately west of the Royal Adelaide Hospital to the state heritage-listed Thebarton police barracks.

The plan, which adds an additional 56 overnight beds to the previously proposed hospital, will require the demolition of 10 police buildings on the state heritage site and prompted backlash from heritage advocates.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said he was grateful the Upper House supported the bill.

“We have fast-tracked the legislation required to build a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital that sets us up for the long term and I’m grateful the Upper House has seen fit to support it,” he said.

“This Bill enables us to provide more care for children, boost expansion capacity for our hospitals and increase green and open Parklands space for families.”

Minister for Health Chris Picton said the choice of site for the hospital will lead to better outcomes for women and children in South Australia.

“We know this world-class project will support our hardworking clinicians and ensure their patients receive the best possible care,” he said.

“The sooner we can pass the legislation, the sooner we can get on with the important task ahead of us.”

Picton also said the agistment of police horses currently housed at the barracks may be looked at in the parklands “temporarily or permanently”.

It comes after the Greens made a move to refer the Government’s Bill to a parliamentary inquiry.

“Given the significant implications of this Bill for the Park Lands and heritage protection, parliamentary scrutiny is essential. It is very disappointing to see SA-Best side with the Government in the Legislative Council to wave through this Bill without appropriate consideration by a parliamentary committee,” said Greens MLC Robert Simms.

Lord Mayoral candidate Rex Patrick last month called for a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s decision to relocate the planned hospital.

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