Bungling on hospital project

TASMANIA'S largest ever health infrastructure project has been affected by weak governance, the state's Auditor-General has found.

However, a Tasmanian Audit Office report on the $586 million redevelopment of the Royal Hobart Hospital said a 2016 completion date was still possible and the project was on budget.

The report, released yesterday, said that while the Department of Health and Human Services had made important progress in strengthening governance, the redevelopment had been impaired by weaknesses at crucial times, including:

•The project manager position being at too low a level during key stages, and inappropriately positioned within the client organisation.

•Skill and manpower shortages, which persisted throughout the project.

•Too many oversight bodies, creating confusion as to who was actually steering the project.

•The committee steering the projects being inappropriately positioned within the client organisation, until December 2012.

•Breakdowns in compliance with the project's risk management framework.

The report made a range of recommendations for the hospital redevelopment and for future projects, including that skill deficiencies in the project team be rectified, that risk management reviews be implemented in accordance with the approved plan, that high priority be given to project management, and that processes be put in place to better respond to steering committee concerns.

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne said the department accepted the findings and had already implemented, or was in the process of implementing, all recommendations relevant to the project.