Consisting of RSL SA, RSL Care SA and RSL LifeCare, the consortium was selected for the project from a short list of three tenders following the South Australian Government’s decision to close the iconic 300-bed hospital as part of its Transforming Health plan. It was going to invest $125 million in redeveloping the site however, ‘Internal issues’ have been cited as the reason for the withdrawal.
The affectionately known Repat Hospital’s closure was met with much controversy, with supporters fearing the impact of the loss of the services at the hospital, particularly for those in the veteran community. Built in 1942, the hospital's primary objective was to care for wounded veterans. It increased to 1000 beds in 1943 and 1944 as servicemen and women returned from World War II.
Health Minister Jack Snelling says as soon as it became clear that New South Wales RSL LifeCare consortium may fail to finalise the contract, the Government engaged the ACH Group-led consortium which had narrowly missed out in the original process.
Known as ‘Open Daws’, the new consortium comprises ACH Group, Anglicare, Flinders University, RDNS, Healthscope and Adelaide Community Healthcare Alliance. Its proposal provides for an integrated redevelopment providing a range of residential options, private health facilities, and community facilities, enhancing the rich heritage of the site.
“Importantly this proposal will enshrine the sites’ important history by investing in the Chapel, SPF Hall and Museum and Remembrance Garden,” says Mr Snelling.
With a long history of serving Veterans, ACH Group feels it is the natural fit to lead the consortium, and is committed to extensive consultation with Veterans’ groups and the broader community to bring to life a community that ‘opens the door’ for participation in a wide range of life opportunities with greater personal choice.
ACH Group Chairman Geoff Holdich says the South Australian not for profit was delighted to be able to deliver a unique health, education and ageing precinct at the Repatriation General Hospital site.
“We are committed to immediate, extensive community consultation followed by further design work, prior to the consortium taking ownership of the site,” he says.
Health Minister Jack Snelling praised the Open Daws proposal, saying “I am absolutely confident they will deliver an outstanding and unique new precinct for the community.”