Royalties deal funds new hospital

In addition to the one-off payment, the new agreement changed BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto’s royalty rates from July 1 from 3.75% to 5.625% for fine ore and 7.5% for lump ore, to bring them in line with other iron ore producers. The increase in royalties will generate an additional $340 million in state royalties for the 2010-11 financial year.Rio executive director and iron ore chief executive Sam Walsh said the result emerged from an extensive period of consultation and negotiation.“[The result] will deliver profound benefits for our iron ore business, our local Pilbara communities and the state in general,” he said.Health Minister Kim Hames said government has decided the money will fund the construction of the new children’s hospital at the QEII Medical Centre site. “This project was earmarked as a public-private partnership (PPP) where the private sector would fund construction of the hospital, and the state government would lease it back,” Hames said. “This new funding is an appropriate and inspiring way for the government to use this one-off payment from the mining companies to make a return to the community, and will result in a reduction for the need of WA Health to lease the building back.” Construction on the new children’s hospital is scheduled to start in 2012 and be completed in 2015. The new children’s hospital will replace ageing Princess Margaret Hospital in Subiaco, which celebrated its centenary last year. The new hospital will have more than 250 beds and house the state’s only paediatric trauma centre, and will provide tertiary and key secondary health services including inpatient, ambulatory and outpatient care. “Planning for the hospital is already underway and we have even been consulting with young patients to make sure the new hospital meets their needs,” Hames said.

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