The SA Chapter has been actively advocating for the state government to reconsider its decision to demolish the state heritage-listed Thebarton Police Barracks for the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital. We have receieved coverage in , and .
Unfortunately, as you are no doubt aware, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Bill passed through both houses of Parliament recently. This paves the way for the demolition of the Thebarton Police Barracks and development of the new hospital on this site and over 4 hectares of the adjoining Park Lands.
This decision leaves the Institute with many unanswered questions:
- What impact will construction and future expansion of the hospital have on the Adelaide Park Lands?
- How does the site selection “boost Parklands access for families” when it results in a net loss of Park Lands?
- Why were alternative sites not considered outside of the six presented on the SA Health WCH Site Review?
- If the current Police Barracks are in such a “poor state“, is it an OHS issue that SAPOL have been using the buildings up until now?
- What will be the true cost of relocating SAPOL and making necessary upgrades to Port Road?
- What is the risk that the Barracks will be demolished as part of an early works package only to find that the site does not deliver the claimed benefits?
Concerns regarding the site selection process are independent of the need to provide updated hospital facilities for the treatment of women and children. There is also no question regarding the ability of the project team to deliver a hospital on whichever site is selected. It is government process that is being examined.
Fast-tracking of another major public project – The Aboriginal Cultures Gallery – has exposed the dangers of rushing complex projects. Investing in rigorous and thorough project initiation processes, including genuine public consultation, is good practice. It will allow for the project to be de-risked prior to construction commencing, after which changes and delays become significantly more expensive. It will also facilitate community confidence.
The Institute will continue to seek answers to these questions and others. We will also be monitoring the project as it progresses and assessing its delivery against the Government’s stated objectives.
We also encourage members to take action by contacting your local MP to ask for answers to these questions.