A question to the Minister for Health about the sale of the Repatriation General Hospital.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: My questions are to the Minister for Health:
1. What is the sale price of the Repatriation General Hospital?
2. Will the Minister release the contract for the sale of the Repat together with the land management agreement embedded in it?
3. Given that the government claims that the land management agreement is an enduring restriction on the future use of the land, why is the proposed zoning of the land more permissive than the land management agreement?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I thank the honourable member for her question. The government has announced its policy and has been on the record for some time regarding the Repat site. Obviously, this is a significant change that has, naturally, attracted a lot of interest within the community and within South Australia. It is widely known and has been reported extensively that the government does have a contract of sale with the ACH Group which we believe will allow for a renewal of the Repat site in a way that is consistent not only with the community's interest but also consistent with the nature of the site generally.
The services that are currently being provided for at the Repat site are being transitioned to other locations around the state and they are fantastic new facilities. As I think I alluded to yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit those facilities. In the case of the Flinders Medical Centre they represent an incredible improvement upon what was previously being provided for at the Repat.
The one that really jumped out at me are the hospice facilities. At the Daw House Hospice, which was located at the Repat, the people working there have done an outstanding job in the community for a number of years providing palliative care services to those South Australians who require them. Those same services now will be provided for at the new site at Flinders. One of my close family relatives passed away at Daw House Hospice. Having seen the facilities there and having now seen the facilities at Flinders, the contrast is extraordinary. I imagine that all South Australians that are able to visit this facility, or indeed utilise them in a practical or functional capacity, will appreciate just how outstanding and world class these new facilities are.
So, we are in the process of transferring from the Repat to the new facilities that the government has invested in. Of course, we look forward to opening up soon the Jamie Larcombe Centre as well. We are committed to making sure there are outstanding world-class facilities that will be able to consume and absorb the services that are provided at the Repat by a large number of committed staff.
In regard to the location going forward, as I mentioned, we have the contract of sale with the ACH Group. That is subject to a land management agreement that will ensure the preservation of a large number of historical buildings at the Repat site. That is a great result for the local community. We are committed to working with ACH to ensure the outcomes and that South Australians generally, particularly people living in and around the area around the Repat, get access to quality services that are consistent with the spirit of everything that was provided for at the Repat but also reflects a changing need, a changing way of doing things in a modern age.
The reality is that the Repat's facilities were old. They were not fit for purpose. We are committing to making sure that the existing services are provided for in fit-for-purpose facilities, and that what happens with the Repat site on an ongoing basis also provides a fit-for-purpose model so that South Australians can enjoy that facility to the extent they have become accustomed.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Supplementary question: is the minister refusing to outline what the sale price is and refusing to agree to release the contract, and if so why is the government willing to release, in contrast, the sale price of the ORAH?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I thank the honourable member for her question. The land management agreement is a very important document that I think most South Australians would see as a good thing. It is a principal mechanism—not the only one, but it is a principal mechanism—that ensures that communities in and around the Repat site can have confidence that that site will be used in a way that is consistent with their expectations but also, like I said, consistent with the spirit of the services and the culture that has existed in and around the Repat for a long period of time.
There is no doubt that the Repat is an iconic site, but part of the things that have contributed to that status as an iconic site is that lots of those buildings are quite old. They should be preserved. They should be preserved in a way that provides a service to the community that is of a health nature. It also acknowledges the fact that many of those facilities were old, weren't fit for purpose, and we want to make sure that people using those facilities can get access to new facilities that are state of the art, that are world class, that do provide for the dignity that those people who use those services deserve while at the same time providing appropriate reference to the Repat site for future generations.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Further supplementary: how can the document have, as the minister claims, sympathy for the local residents when the residents have not had any opportunity to have any input into it?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): As I stated, the government is committed to working with the local community and the ACH Group to ensure that, as development on that site occurs, there is an opportunity for the local community to provide feedback into it.