The construction of a new six-storey car park at the Mater Private Hospital has been launched with a blessing of the site and its workers by Catholic Bishop of Townsville Tim Harris.

The building, supported by a $19.75m loan from the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, will be developed on the hospital’s Pimlico campus at the corner of Diprose and Lothair St.

“The Mater is to be congratulated for its foresight and its commitment to the people of Townsville and beyond,” Bishop Harris said.

The carpark is the second stage of the hospital’s 10-year $100m master plan. It will provide undercover parking for patients, visitors and staff.

The hospital’s executive officer, Libbie Linley, said the project would make using the hospital more convenient and support Townsville’s post-COVID economy.

Ms Linley said a review of the master plan relating to another phase – relocating maternity and neonatal services from Hyde Park – was investigating the timing for this at present.

Paynters Director, Michael Koen said an Indigenous school-based trainee had been hired to work on the project, continuing the company’s strong record of employing and partnering with First Nations contractors and workers.

“In addition to the engagement of an indigenous school-based apprentice, Paynters and The Mater have committed to up to 10% further indigenous employment hours over the life of the project. This will also be coupled with a minimum 5% direct spend with Indigenous owned businesses. Paynters look forward to working with The Mater team in the delivery of this vital piece of infrastructure”.

Mater Chief of Mission Alanna Jacoby said the car park construction would include demolition of Halberstater House, named after the Mater’s founding medical superintendent, Dr Leslie Halberstater OBE.

“We will commemorate Dr Halberstater’s life and work by incorporating a plaque into the grounds of the Pimlico campus to ensure his legacy is not forgotten,” Ms Jacoby said.

Upon completion, the project will incorporate indigenous artwork with a bespoke painting to be featured on the external facade.