Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie MP has joined Premier Campbell Newman at the first sod turning at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) this morning.
Mr Bleijie said when the hospital opens in 2016 it would provide important health care services that are currently not available in the region.
“The local community has fought long and hard to get to this stage and it is exciting that with every day we get one step closer.
“The Sunshine Coast University Hospital was a project used as a political football by the previous Labor Government, which gave us different start dates, end dates and budgets.
“In 2009 when it was announced the start date would be pushed back again by another two years, the community started the Hospital Delay, No Way campaign.
“During this time, more than 2000 residents attended a rally and almost 30,000 signed various petitions.
“This commitment, particularly by the Sunshine Coast University Hospital Action Group has now paid off.
“The Newman Government can assure the community it will now get on with the job without excuses and without any further delays.
“The Sunshine Coast University Hospital means about 10,000 residents will no longer need to travel to Brisbane for treatment and will revolutionise public health care in the region.”
The SCUH will provide 450 beds, growing to 738 beds by 2021 and can be expanded to 900 beds beyond 2021 if needed.
Services will include a new comprehensive cancer centre, a range of complex surgical services including neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, maxillofacial surgery and specialised trauma services.
The project is Queensland’s first public hospital Public Private Partnership. Queensland Health has entered into a contract with Exemplar Health (a consortium including Lend Lease, Spotless Group, Capella Capital and Siemens) to design, construct, finance and maintain the hospital buildings for 25 years once the hospital opens.
Construction will officially commence in October. Exemplar Health estimates about 1,800-2,000 jobs will be created during the peak of construction activity.
SCUH will provide employment for more than 3,500 staff when it opens in 2016 and about 6,000 staff will be required by 2021. This will include doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, administrative and operational staff.