THE Queensland Government last week announced that Australian Unity has been selected as the preferred tenderer to develop the site of the former children's hospital at Herston in Brisbane and create a $1.1 billion health, aged care, residential and retail destination.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Australian Unity proposal would deliver on the government's aim to elevate Brisbane's health credentials and cement the broader Herston Health Precinct as home to globally recognised health care, research, education, clinical trials and treatments.
"This project will be a milestone in Brisbane's history and will further enhance the world-class reputation of the broader Herston Health Precinct," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"The tradition of public health services on the site will also continue, with my government's commitment to deliver a new 132 bed Specialist Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Centre.
"This redevelopment will cement Brisbane's position as a truly international city, with a health and research precinct that will help Queensland to attract and retain the best clinicians, health workers, researchers, academics and students," she said.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Australian Unity has been selected as the preferred tenderer after a comprehensive competitive process conducted by Queensland Treasury.
"That process considered how the site could most effectively be used to achieve the government's vision for a health-focussed precinct within its requirement that it be delivered at no net cost to the State," Mr Pitt said.
"This development, over a five-hectare site adjacent to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, will provide significant economic development opportunities for Queensland, supporting 700 jobs annually during the 10-year development period and hundreds of jobs annually through operation, as estimated by Australian Unity.
"Queensland Treasury's project team will continue working with Australian Unity on the redevelopment of the site that will put Herston Health Precinct on the map globally, rejuvenate iconic heritage buildings and deliver wonderful public spaces for people to enjoy.
"This redevelopment will be delivered at no net cost to the State, which is a tremendous outcome and a terrific example of how the government and the private sector can work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
"With an investment of more than $1 billion, the Herston Health Precinct is exactly the type of development we need to drive jobs and growth with real community benefits through increased health service delivery," Mr Pitt said
Works are expected to start in 2017 and the redevelopment will occur in stages over the next 10 years with the public health facility being a priority. A small project team will be embedded in Metro North Hospital and Health service to manage delivery of the project.