Taskforce Communique Number One

23 June 2014

The RHH Redevelopment Rescue Taskforce (the Taskforce) was established by the Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson, on 7 May 2014.

The Taskforce is commissioned to undertake an independent investigation into the RHH Redevelopment project and to report to Government within six months.

The Taskforce membership includes Mr John Ramsay (Chair), Ms Jo Thorley and Dr Daniel Norton AO.

The Taskforce was first convened with the Minister for Health on 22 May 2014 and held their first business meeting on 6 June 2014.

The Taskforce has spent its first few weeks focusing on:

  • discovery and investigation of key project issues
  • instituting clear governance for the review and care and maintenance of the RHH Redevelopment Project
  • negotiating care and maintenance arrangements with key contractors and consultants
  • convening the Professional Reference Group and
  • determining the work program of the Taskforce.

Discovery and investigation of key project issues

The Taskforce has held briefings with a number of key players in the project.

The early view of the Taskforce is that poor project governance and successive design changes have frustrated progress and delayed the project however, considerable work has been achieved and that design work in particular, is well advanced. 

It is also the early view of the Taskforce that the investigation will assist the Government to make a clear decision on the future of the project and to ensure that decisions are based on appropriate evidence and rigorous analysis. 

Improved Governance Arrangements

New governance has been agreed to simplify the previously complex arrangements that involved multiple layers of control and decision making. One single control point (the Taskforce) has replaced three layers of decision making previously responsible for the Redevelopment project. All funding commitments and activity is now accountable to the Taskforce. This is a significant improvement which will increase the transparency and accountability of expenditure.

Care and Maintenance

During the investigation the RHH Redevelopment project has been placed in care and maintenance. This phase will minimise project expenditure in relation to ongoing contractual obligations. The Taskforce is finalising negotiations on specific packages of work that will contribute to the investigative work of the Taskforce, including construction methodology review.

Professional Reference Group

The Taskforce is supported by a Professional Reference Group (PRG) whose membership includes Michael Kerschbaum, Master Builders Association; John Davis, Australian Medical Association; Neroli Ellis, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation; and Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison. The PRG is chaired by John Ramsay, Rescue Taskforce Chair.

The PRG held their inaugural meeting on Thursday, 12 June 2014 where they were briefed on the status of the Redevelopment project and the scope of the Taskforce.

Members held a broad ranging discussion on the project where they were invited to raise key issues for consideration by the Taskforce.

The PRG will support the Taskforce in consideration of the five work streams ahead of providing advice to Government.

Taskforce Program

The Taskforce has approved a business plan which defines five work streams that will provide advice across the Terms of Reference and include:

  • governance
  • site appropriateness
  • project scope
  • construction methodology and
  • capital and financial risks.

The Taskforce intends to report to Government progressively against these five work streams, to enable elements of the project to continue ahead of completion of the investigation period where possible.

The anticipated timing of advice from each phase is summarised below. Milestone reports will prepared on this basis during the investigation.


Scheduled Finish

1. Site appropriateness and Scope (Alignment)

Examine the barriers to progressing the Redevelopment project on an alternate site. Advice will include the risks and benefits of allowing early works to proceed on the site.

Examine whether the proposed hospital project scope is aligned with relevant health and clinical plans.  And that the services scope is reflected in the facility scope.

July 2014

2.  Scope – (Models of Care and Facilities Management Plan)

Confirm Models of Care

Examine whether there are opportunities to utilise the new hospital facilities to increase efficiencies and reduce costs for health services across the southern region. 

August 2014

3. Construction Methodology

Examine the costs and benefits of the identified construction methodologies, including the associated costs, risks and benefits for patient care during the period of construction.

October 2014

4. Capital and Operating Financial Risks

Examine the level of capital and ongoing risk for the State.

October 2014

5. Ongoing Governance and Project Management

Consider the appropriate Governance that would be needed for the Redevelopment RHH Project to proceed.

October 2014

Taskforce Final Report to Cabinet.

November 2014

Approved:  John Ramsay, RHHR Rescue Taskforce Chair, 23 June 2014