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Dispute is 'indicative', say Liberals

Jeremy Hanson.

Jeremy Hanson. Photo: Melissa Adams

A stoush over work on a $44 million cancer centre is ''indicative'' of the ACT government's problems in delivering health infrastructure, say the Canberra Liberals.

But the government maintains the cancer centre will still be delivered on time and on budget, despite a dispute over payment of contractors working on the project.

Three contractors are seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars they say they are owed.

The government is withholding the funds as ''liquidated damages'' for work it claims was not completed on time and has led to additional costs on the project.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson echoed the thoughts of contractors, who say the project is ''in chaos''. ''What's happening at the cancer centre is indicative of what's happening across most of the health projects, which are subject to significant delay and cost overrun,'' he said. ''In particular I'd note the cancellation of the $43 million [design] project to replace the Canberra Hospital tower that caused significant disruption to all the tenderers.''

Commerce and works director-general Megan Smithies said on Friday three of the 23 contractors on the cancer centre project were involved in the disputes.

Facade consultant Gene Levette said the site was not ready for him to begin work on March 4 but he was slapped with liquidated damages of $15,000 a day.

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