Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith says the Liberals’ plan to change the scope of the Canberra Hospital expansion would set the project back years.
She also claims their pledge to complete 70,000 surgeries would be impossible, and is underfunded.
They have pledged to complete 70,000 elective surgeries – 10,000 more than Labor have promised – and add eight new hybrid operating theatres to the major Canberra Hospital expansion project – previously dubbed SPIRE.
The entrance to the hospital would also be reconfigured so ambulances arrive via Yamba Drive.
The hospital expansion has already faced years of delays, and is set to be completed in 2024 on the current schedule.
Ms Stephen-Smith said the party’s plan was half-baked and would set the project back well beyond 2024.
“Last election, Alistair Coe promised to rip up light rail contracts – and now he is doing it again with Canberra Hospital expansion,” she said.
“They haven’t consulted with the clinicians, with the successful tenderer or the community.
“The Opposition Leader is demonstrating that his inexperience is a very real threat to Canberra’s COVID economic recovery, and a risk to local jobs.”
She said the elective surgery commitment was unrealistic, with the Liberals pledging nowhere near the funding required. They would also not be able to find enough staff to complete the surgeries, she said.
“The Canberra Liberals have to explain how delaying the Canberra Hospital expansion and delivering more elective surgeries would be achievable,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
“The Canberra Liberals appear to have picked a number out of thin air with no plan for how they will actually deliver.”
Opposition assistant health spokeswoman Giulia Jones insisted the Liberals’ plan would not set back the project.
“There will be a 12-month redesign process in the current plans, and during that time we will make sure those extra theatres are added,” she said.
Under the current time frames, construction on the expansion is due to start next year.