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More delays for new WA children's hospital

AAP logoAAP 3/08/2016

Building company John Holland may be pursued for liquidated damages after more delays with completing Perth's new children's hospital.

The lead contractor will miss the August 4 handover date and it is not clear when that will be achieved, Health Minister John Day says.

"Everything is being done to try and ensure that it happens as quickly as possible," Mr Day told reporters on Wednesday.

He said the state government hoped full operations would commence before the end of this year and was very disappointed in John Holland, which was originally expected to complete the building by the end of 2015.

"We are in the hands of the builders, John Holland, and their contractors," Mr Day said.

"Time after time, the dates we have been given have been missed."

A major cause of the delay was the recent discovery of asbestos in roof panels made by Chinese building materials company Yuanda, which is being investigated by Border Force for suspected illegal imports.

WA building commissioner Peter Gow is also conducting an independent audit into the project, warning breaches of the law will lead to fines.

Mr Day said the contract with John Holland contained a provision for liquidated damages, capped to a maximum amount, to compensate the state government for financial losses resulting from the delay.

The matter could wind up in court.

"We would hope that that would be avoided," he said.

"There will be lots of negotiations after the hospital is completed, I'm sure."

Mr Day said the company's track record would be considered when it bids for future contracts.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan urged the state government not to rush the project just to get it open before the March election, saying the safety of patients was paramount.

"We've heard about asbestos. We've heard about all the other issues to do with subcontractors and IT blow-outs and the like," Mr McGowan told reporters.

"We want to know what the exact reason is now, what the contractual arrangements are, for a further delay in this much-needed project."

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