The State Government has granted Practical Completion of the Perth Children's Hospital (PCH) project enabling it to take control of the site and address remaining building and contractual issues.
Elevated levels of lead in the water on the site and other remnant building issues have been identified as defects with the builder remaining responsible for their rectification.
Under the PCH contract, the State Government has the power to rectify defects itself at the builder's cost if the builder does not do so within a nominated timeframe.
Lead levels at the PCH site have already reduced significantly as a result of remedial measures already implemented including filters on the incoming water supply, extensive flushing of the plumbing system, in-line filters to trap debris within the system, and replacement of corroded sections of stainless steel pipe.
However, lead levels in water samples at PCH have not fallen to acceptable levels.
Granting Practical Completion means hospital commissioning work can continue at the site however no health or patient services can be provided at the site until the Chief Health Officer is satisfied water is safe to drink.
The State Government has sought expert advice and understands the most likely cause of current elevated lead levels is leaching from brass fittings, which may be chemically treated to inhibit this process.
The treatment has been used internationally with a high success rate.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"We have repeatedly stated there are remnant contractual and building issues including defects such as the lead issue that we have inherited from the Barnett Government.
"These have contributed to significant delays by the builder, however with control of the site, we're now acting fast and we are going to resolve the issues as soon as practically possible.
"We want to resolve the issues, get the hospital ready, and have patients receiving world-class treatment there as soon as possible.
"This is the circuit-breaker that will make sure we get this hospital ready for patients.
"Our focus remains on ensuring we have a safe hospital for patients and staff and we will open Perth Children's Hospital only when it is safe to do so."
Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:
"Practical Completion will allow the State Government to take control and address the remaining issues at the PCH site.
"The builder can still be held accountable for all defects - including elevated lead levels in the water - and we intend to pursue the builder to manage the defects by set deadlines or we will manage the issues and pursue the builder for costs."
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500
Treasurer's office - 6552 5900