Three to bid for A$2bn Queensland hospital PPP

Three consortia including Lend Lease, Infrared Capital and Macquarie Capital will now receive a request for binding bids to determine the winner for the 450-bed hospital. But a political faction in Queensland wants to cut the hospital’s price tag by A$400m.

Queensland health minister Geoff Wilson has shortlisted three consortia to design, build, finance and maintain an A$2.03 billion (€1.5 billion; $2.1 billion) hospital in the Australian state via a public-private partnership (PPP).

The project, known as the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH), will be awarded as a 25-year PPP contract. The hospital will open with 450 beds in 2016 growing to 736 beds by 2021, the Queensland government said in a statement. 

Bidding for the hospital project initially attracted five consortia, prompting minister Wilson to comment that “some of the biggest companies from Australia and around the world have been vying to deliver this vital health project”. 

But of the original five teams, only three will receive a request for binding bids. They include:

Exemplar Health, including Lend Lease, Siemens, Capella Capital and Spotless;

Sunshine Health Partners, comprising Abigroup, Thiess, John Laing Investments, Infrared Capital and RBS Australia;

And Salus Partnership, which is made up of Laing O’Rourke, Bilfinger Berger, UGL Services and Macquarie Capital.

Still, despite the ongoing procurement process, there seems to be some political turmoil surrounding the PPP, with some Queensland MPs belonging to the Liberal National Party (LNP) wanting to slash the hospital’s budget by A$400 million. This has prompted Wilson to say:

“[Their] plan to rip A$400 million out of the SCUH will scuttle the project – there will be no hospital under the LNP. To reduce the scope of the hospital project at this late stage […] will set this process back by years and deliver a smaller hospital – if a hospital can be delivered at all.”

He added: “The LNP has done no market testing, received no expressions of interest, and provided no shortlist of consortia willing to build a A$2.03bn hospital for $1.6 billion. If the LNP plan is ever realised, the SCUH won’t be built,” Wilson concluded.