I begin this final column for 2016 with some good news about the $3.4 billion dollar transformation of Darling Harbour.
The brand new International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney was the first major infrastructure project we committed to, and it was a proud moment to be at the public launch on 11 December.
The $1.5 billion ICC Sydney is the jewel in the crown of the Darling Harbour facelift and sets a new standard for convention and exhibition venues.
Importantly, the grand opening demonstrates the ability of this Government to deliver projects we’ve committed to from start to finish. We promised to build it after 16 long years under Labor, and it’s just the start of so much more to come.
It’s fast becoming Australia’s most desirable business meeting location and exhibition space, with almost 500 major events already booked in between now and 2026.
It was no ordinary build. The Convention building was built using 2400 tonnes of steel, and the exhibition halls have the equivalent of six football fields of trade show floor space, cementing Sydney as a premium and modern choice for the major events industry.
The mega space will employ 300 full-time staff and 1500 casual workers, and is expected to pump about $200 million into the NSW economy each year over the next 25 years.
The state’s tourism and hospitality sectors will also benefit from the ICC Sydney, which is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Sydney and NSW, encouraging more people to visit the best city in the world and pouring billions of dollars back into our thriving economy.
To other news, the new Northern Beaches Hospital at Frenchs Forest reached a major milestone with a rooftop ceremony marking a new generation of healthcare for the region.
I attended a topping out ceremony on the roof of the hospital to celebrate construction reaching its highest point.
The amount of progress made over the past 12 months is incredible. Last Christmas, the site was being prepared for construction. This year, the building has risen from the site at an incredible pace and is now nine storeys high.
We said we would build it and we are. By entering into a partnership with one of Australia’s leading health care providers, Healthscope, we are able to build this hospital faster and at a lower cost to the taxpayer.
The hospital is located on a 6.5 hectare site at the intersection of Warringah Road and Wakehurst Parkway. It will include 488 beds, 1,400 car spaces, a helipad, a 50-space emergency department, 14 operating theatres, advanced intensive care and critical care units and an inpatient mental health facility and will employ 1,300 staff. As part of the build, we’re spending $500 million dollars upgrading and widening roads around the hospital to improve traffic flow in the area once it opens in 2018.
We have partnered with Healthscope to ensure the hospital is built by a leading health care provider, which will design, build, operate and maintain the new hospital under a 20 year contract with the NSW Government. The hospital will provide free patient services expected at all public hospitals across NSW, as well as private patient services.
We will give the community the option of receiving high quality public or private health care at the new state-of-the-art hospital, which will complement Sydney’s major hospital network.
Finally, as we come together to spend quality time with family and friends this holiday season, it is my great pleasure to wish communities across NSW a Merry Christmas and joyous start to 2017.