News & Media

Austin Powers Ahead With Another Milestone

Structural work on the largest hospital redevelopment in Victoria was completed today, thanks to assistance from the Minister for Major Projects, Peter Batchelor, and the Minister for Health, Bronwyn Pike.
Mr Batchelor and Ms Pike marked the completion of work by participating in the last concrete pour for two towers which feature in the $376 million Austin Health Redevelopment and Mercy Hospital for Women Relocation Project.
“We’re powering ahead with the biggest hospital redevelopment ever undertaken in Victoria, and the first major project committed to by the Bracks Government,” Mr Batchelor said.
Ms Pike said the new Austin Hospital would include 400 acute beds, a new emergency department, two additional operating theatres, an expanded day surgery and procedures department and new and expanded intensive care and critical care units.
“The new Mercy Hospital for Women will include 128 adult beds, 62 neo-natal cots, 13 birthing suites, four family birth centre suites, 20 outpatient suites, a ten-bed acute assessment area and four operating theatres,” Ms Pike said.
“It will have the capacity to deliver more than 6,000 babies each year and conduct more than 6,300 surgical procedures annually.
“The Bracks Government’s health policies have delivered a $1.4 billion investment in capital works, the recruitment of more than 4,000 extra nurses and an extra $1 billion in hospital spending since the Government came to office,” she said.
Ms Pike said at the same time, Victoria had been able to treat more than 35,000 extra patients each year while achieving reductions in hospital bypass and 12-hour bed waits.
Mr Batchelor said with 500 workers currently on site, the entire construction of the two new towers at the Heidelberg site was on track to be completed by the end of 2004, with hospital commissioning and operations to be progressively brought online in early 2005.
“The entire project, including the refurbishment of the existing Austin Hospital building, is expected to finish on time in 2006,” Mr Batchelor said.
“To celebrate this key milestone a pine tree has been hoisted to the very top of the building,” he said.
“The tree topping ceremony is based on an ancient Scandinavian tradition where a tree was placed on top of a building to appease the tree gods and avoid the wrath that may come following the cutting down of trees to make way for the building, and provide a home for any displaced spirits.”
Mr Batchelor said more recently, it had become an international sign to celebrate building workers’ achievements and show the final height of a building nearing completion.
“Today’s hoisting of the pine tree signifies to the community that the dream of a state-of-the-art health facility to service Melbourne’s north east is becoming a reality,” Mr Batchelor said.