QUESTION: Rezoning of the Repat Hospital site

During Question Time Mark asked the Minister for Health about the zoning of the Repatriation General Hospital.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: My supplementary derives from the minister's answer: if the minister is not privatising the Repatriation General Hospital, will he be encouraging his colleague the planning minister to change the zoning that was gazetted by the previous government, noting that he only has a week or two to do so?

The Hon. K.J. Maher: Good question.

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): It is a good question; I agree with the Leader of the Opposition on that point. It's a good question because, as the honourable member is clearly trying to give me the opportunity—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Ridgway, you should know better. Minister, continue.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: —to highlight the hypocrisy of the former Labor government. This was a government which, right up to election day, was telling us that, yes, they believed in a genuine health precinct for the Repat, too. Well, if they did believe in a genuine health precinct on the Repat site, why did the former minister for planning approve a DPA variation to the Repat site on 23 or 24 December and then wait a month until, I think, 23 January to gazette it? Then, what did the gazettal show? This is a government which said, 'Yes, we believe in health services on this site,' and yet that DPA permitted a hotel, a warehouse, a convention centre, I recall, and restaurants. This is not a genuine health precinct.

That's the first point on why I would say to the honourable member that the government wasn't serious about a genuine health precinct. I have heard your question and I will come back to the issue of how we respond to that. The second point of why the former Labor government was completely hypocritical on the Repat was that the former Labor Party government committed to releasing the master plan and consulting with the community about the master plan. This is the master plan coming out of the contract. They also committed to a land management agreement that would protect the site in perpetuity. Then what we find is that the conditions precedent expired—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The minister is attempting to answer the question. Let him answer the question.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: —on 30 April. With all due respect to the former member of the government which sold the Repat, but through you, Mr President, there was no chance—I am not exactly sure how many days there are between 17 March and 30 April, but there was not nearly enough time, if the Labor government was re-elected, for them to have had a genuine consultation on the master plan and to go through a proper community consultation. The former Labor government was not fair dinkum about a genuine health precinct. The honourable member's question, as I understand it, was inviting me to reflect on what—

Members interjecting:

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I think the honourable member is entitled to an answer and I would thank him for the opportunity to do it in one statement rather than the Leader of the Opposition who likes it in a series of six bites. Going to the issue of the planning, we went to the election with a commitment to revoke, to replace that DPA on day one. That was on the assumption that the Labor Party could actually deliver on a commitment, which was to sell the Repat site. I think just before we came to government we became aware that the sale had not been executed so there was a range of planning opportunities to vary the DPA.

We will be engaging the Environment, Resources and Development Committee. There are at least four different options in terms of how we as a government and we as a parliament can progress. Certainly, in a statement I made, I think on 2 May, when I announced that I was acting to terminate the contract ,I indicated that I would be writing to the ERDC. I appreciate that the ERD Committee meets on 17 May (which is two days from now) and I am taking final advice to finalise that letter.

On 17 March, I think the people of South Australia voted not just for the retention of the Repat site but also for the protection of the site as a genuine health precinct. We do not believe that the DPA that was issued on 23 or 24 December by minister Rau, nor the contract that was drafted by former minister Snelling and pursued by former minister Malinauskas, honours the determination of the South Australian community that that continue as a genuine health precinct. We will continue to act accordingly.