Message from Archbishop Prowse on Calvary Hospital

24 May 2023
Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn. Image: Giovanni Portelli/ACBC/Supplied


Dear Friends in Christ,

By now, you would have heard the shocking news that the ACT Government intends to compulsorily acquire our wonderful Calvary Public Hospital, Bruce.

This is despite the fact that we have been offering high-quality patient care under our Catholic ethos for the past 44 years on this site. 76 years remain on the contract negotiated and signed in 2010 with the then Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher.

No convincing reasons to date have been offered for this draconian action by the ACT Government. No systemic issues of concern regarding Calvary’s health outcomes has been identified; to the contrary, the Health Minister made a point of emphasising Calvary’s excellent care for patients.

I am deeply troubled about this situation and its implications.

My prayers and thoughts are immediately directed to the 1,800 workers of the hospital and their families. They must be worried about the ramifications of this decision for their future employment.

I am also concerned that this action, based on obsessive government control, would deprive future generations in Canberra of the choice of hospital care based on the ethos of our cherished Catholic faith.

There is a rising fear, also, that this extraordinary and completely unnecessary government intervention could set the scene for future “acquisitions” of any faith-based health facility or, indeed, any faith-based enterprise, including education or social welfare.

To respond practically to this critical situation, I have established the “Calvary Hospital Taskforce – Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.” Fr Tony Percy, has kindly accepted my invitation to lead this Taskforce. This group will be contacting you to offer you practical ways of responding, including participating in an online petition at before 31 May 2023, when it is intended the legislation for acquisition becomes effective.

Let us all pray for common sense to prevail and that the sick and Hospital staff are saved from anxiety and can live in health and peace.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse
Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn


Update from Calvary Care on 24 May 2023: Calvary pursuing genuine negotiation with ACT Government

Calvary is continuing to pursue genuine negotiations with the ACT Government over its proposed compulsory acquisition of Calvary Public Hospital Bruce.

Since, the Health Infrastructure Enabling Bill 2023 and associated regulations were introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 11 May, 2023, Calvary has been considering its legal options while maintaining its relationship with the Territory currently governed by the Calvary Network Agreement.

Calvary has still not received any meaningful options for resolving the negotiations, including retained service delivery or compensation, despite a meeting with ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith last Thursday.

“We remain hopeful the ACT Government will give Calvary this matter appropriate consideration and provide options beyond the legislation. Our people deserve this,” said Calvary’s National Chief Executive, Martin Bowles.

“This legislation could be enacted as early as next Wednesday, and yet we seem to be at an impasse with the ACT Government choosing to double down on its proposed legislation filled with draconian measures.”

“Calvary has 76 years left on our contract, which is part of our long-term business planning and the ACT Government cannot simply take that away from our overall business without impacting our services more broadly,” said Mr Bowles.


To find out more about the implications of this decision and to sign the petition please visit:

Archbishop Prowse’s comments were originally published on 14 May 2023 in Catholic Voice, the news publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn. Reproduced with permission.


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