Bundaberg will know the site of its new hospital in 2020 with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing $6.7 million for a detailed business case.
Ms Palaszczuk said construction of a new hospital would reshape healthcare, boost jobs and bring new investment to the region.
“Bundaberg deserves a new hospital and it will get one,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I’ve asked Building Queensland to get on with the detailed business case so we can look at exactly where, when and how the new hospital can be built.
“The first step is identifying the site and we’re working to get that done as soon as possible.”
The current Bundaberg Hospital site has space limitations, flooding issues and inefficient layouts needed to deliver contemporary health services in the long term.
Ms Palaszczuk said a significant portion of the $6.7 million would go towards design costs for the preferred option, further demonstrating the government’s commitment to the project.
“The business case will deliver a plan for the biggest development in Bundaberg in decades,” she said.
Mayor Jack Dempsey welcomed the announcement.
“I wrote to the Premier last week to congratulate her on being the first politician to commit to building a new hospital in Bundaberg,” he said.
“I also offered the full support of Council in identifying a suitable site.”
Health Minister Steven Miles said Building Queensland would begin work on the detailed business case immediately.
“This is about providing the Bundaberg community with the access to services it needs,” Mr Miles said.
“It continues on our strong track record of building and expanding hospitals and delivering health services for regional Queensland.”
Mr Miles said as well as looking at potential greenfield sites, the detailed business case would consider options to stage the construction so some services could be brought online before the entire project was completed.
This would also enable the existing hospital to be progressively decommissioned or even repurposed for low acuity or community-based services.
“The detailed business case will consider the size and scope of clinical services provided at the hospital, road and public transport infrastructure required, car-parking options, as well as opportunities to facilitate associated health businesses locating nearby,” he said.
“Early analysis suggests a new hospital would also lead to the creation of up to 800 new health-related jobs, and more than 1000 construction-related jobs during the project.
New Bundaberg Hospital planning
Mr Miles said the business case would include detailed health service modelling to establish the future health care demand, service capability and staffing requirements to support the growing and ageing population of the Wide Bay Burnett region.
“Given the once-in-a-century opportunity this development will bring, it’s important we get it right,” Mr Miles said.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson said she was keen to get on with the project, in collaboration with government infrastructure advisory body Building Queensland, and the funding would enable the work to start as quickly as possible.
“A new Bundaberg Hospital is crucial to the future of the Bundaberg and Wide Bay regions, from both a health and economic perspective, and I’m thrilled the Queensland Government is supporting us to advance the project,” Ms Jamieson said.
“Building a new hospital is an incredibly complex and detailed process, so we need to get the planning right.
“We’re now looking forward to communicating with the community on the next steps from here, including some public information sessions to allow people to learn more and have their say.”
As well as consulting closely with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and capital and planning experts from the Department of Health, Building Queensland will consult a range of local community partners, including Bundaberg Regional Council.