BENDIGO East Liberals candidate Ian Ellis has challenged Daniel Andrews to show the plans of the Bendigo Hospital, saying it is wrong of the Labor premier to lay claim to it.
Campaigning in Bendigo last week, Mr Andrews said: “I was just so pleased recently to be at the official opening of Bendigo Hospital, Labor’s new Bendigo Hospital, such a fantastic facility not just for Bendigo but for the entirety of central Victoria and north west Victoria“.
Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allan followed later by explaining it was a project “the premier backed, back when he was the health minister in 2009”.
But Mr Ellis insisted this week that although most of the construction happened during a Labor government, “if you go back and look at things at the time when the Bailieu and Napthine government did the planning, did the contracting, Labor was against what was proposed, particularly contracting the builders”.
Lend Lease was part of the consortium that was awarded the contract in 2013 to build the hospital but was at the time the subject of a government exclusion order, made because of the building giant’s agreement with the then Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
The Liberal government said at the time the agreement broke building code guidelines, but because the Lend Lease consortium was short-listed for the hospital tender before the guidelines kicked in, the exclusion order was only a small factor in play.
The Labor Opposition said the process had been a “shambles”, causing pointless delays that hurt the local community.
Mr Ellis said the plans that Mr Andrews as health minister backed in 2009 were different and not as extensive as what was eventually designed by the Liberal government and built.
“It was not the hospital they planned and I challenge them to produce the plans,” Mr Ellis said.
“They did allocate funding, much less than what was put in by the Liberal government because the Liberals designed it, costed it, commenced it and then there was a change of government.
“A lot of the construction was during this government’s term but it was started before they came to government and they criticised a lot of it.
“What we have is way better than what Labor was planning to build.”
Mr Ellis has also proposed a ring road for Bendigo in a vocal week for the Liberal candidate who still finds himself alone in being preselected for a Bendigo state seat.
The Liberals have yet to preselect a candidate to run against Maree Edwards in Bendigo West.