The State Government expects to have a tender secured for the delayed upgrade to Geraldton Health Campus by mid-2023, possibly paving the way for construction to start in the second half of next year. The Department of Finance says an expression of interest will be listed on the Tenders WA website by the end of the year, allowing construction companies to apply to take on the $123 million project. The department said it expected to have completed the request for proposal — an agreement with a company to take on the project — by the second quarter of 2023, meaning construction would not begin until at least the second half of the year. Upgrades to Geraldton Health Campus were an election promise by the McGowan Government in 2017, and while the first stage was completed in June 2021, the second stage has been in limbo since. In June this year, the Government said it was unable to come to an agreement with any prospective company as their tenders exceeded budget restraints. Shadow regional health minister Martin Aldridge questioned why it had taken six months for the Government to seek tender again. “Given an additional $49m was committed to this project back in May, it’s concerning six months later the tender process has not been reopened, especially as the project has already been prepared for tender before,” he said. “The State Government has blamed construction constraints, but the reality is Treasury coffers are overflowing and all the community has to show after five years is a new car park and front entrance.” The Government has maintained that factors outside of its control, mainly shortages of labour and supplies, have caused the delays. Finance Minister Tony Buti said the Government was still committed to delivering the redevelopment, and dismissed Mr Aldridge’s criticism of the Government’s use of its surplus. “The operational surplus serves to pay down the record $43.7 billion net debt racked up by the previous Liberal-National government, who all the while delivered no significant health infrastructure improvements to the Mid West during 8½ years of government,” he said.