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Wednesday, 21 August 1996
Page: 3416


Mr JULL (Minister for Administrative Services)(4.54 p.m.) —I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for consideration and report: Development of facilities for 5 Aviation Regiment at RAAF Base Townsville.

Mr Deputy Speaker, 5 Aviation Regiment operates 27 Black Hawk helicopters, along with five Iroquois UH-1H and four Chinook CH-47D helicopters at RAAF Base Townsville. Corrosion has been detected in the Black Hawk air frame during servicing and there is potential for similar corrosion problems in the Chinook helicopters. In response to these problems, a corrosion prevention strategy has identified the need for helicopter washing and shelter facilities to arrest the corrosion and enhance the fleet's sustainability.

The Department of Defence proposes to construct an advance wash facility and environmental shelter equipped with dehumidification equipment for Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters to reduce corrosion caused by operation and open storage of the helicopters in salt-laden atmospheric conditions. Degradation of the helicopters, caused by high temperatures and exposure to UV radiation, will also be reduced and the shelters will also reduce OH&S problems associated with personnel working on the helicopters in the tropical sun.

It is also proposed to refurbish a helicopter arming area and relocate 5 Aviation Regiment's transport and vehicle workshop facilities to within the existing regimental precinct to enhance operational efficiency. The estimated outturn cost is $21.332 million. It is anticipated that construction will start in May 1997 and be completed by December 1988. I commend the motion to the House.