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Wednesday, 29 August 2001
Page: 30546


Mrs MOYLAN (4:41 PM) —On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I present the eighth report for 2001 of the committee relating to Lavarack Barracks redevelopment, stage 3, Townsville.

Ordered that the report be printed.


Mrs MOYLAN —by leave—This report relates to the proposal for the third stage of the redevelopment of the Australian Army's Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. It involves the upgrading of working accommodation and facilities, in particular for the 3rd Brigade, and of facilities for other units located at the barracks. The committee has found the proposed work necessary and recommended it proceed. Many of the existing facilities at Lavarack Barracks are more than 30 years old and, arguably, have reached the end of their functional life.

According to Defence, the facilities do not adequately reflect the current structure or functionality of the 3rd Brigade—which is the major land component of the Ready Deployment Force of the Australian Defence Force. I hasten to add that, following the committee's inspection of the barracks, we would agree with this view. Facilities such as the headquarters building are inadequate for current operational needs. We believe the redevelopment work will enhance the overall effectiveness of the 3rd Brigade and other units based at Lavarack Barracks.

There are a number of benefits. They include: the better grouping of related brigade functions, facilities that better reflect current work practices and functional relationships, improved morale as a result of Defence personnel having working accommodation and facilities that meet present day standards, more efficient operations flowing from improved maintenance and storage areas, and fewer occupational health and safety problems by getting rid of cramped temporary accommodation.

Defence's submission to the committee presented options for addressing problems at Lavarack Barracks. Essentially, they were to refurbish existing buildings or to rebuild. After calling for additional information from Defence, the committee concluded that the rebuild option was the better option.

I would like to make some brief comments on the scope and cost of the project. An issue for the committee was that, while Defence had a capped budget of $170 million for the project, the estimated cost of this redevelopment is $230 million. The difference between $170 million and $230 million is explained by Defence as savings which could be made by value management and other cost savings measures within the project. It is self-evident that the scope of the works proposed by Defence will not be achieved unless Defence can make these savings. While I think it is fair to say Defence is confident it will make the savings, the committee would prefer in future submissions to see similar projects presented more cogently.

In this context the committee is currently interested in the benefits achieved from what is known as alliancing, where the total project cost is fixed. Alliancing is a team-based approach to building design and construction. It was used to design and construct the new National Museum herein Canberra, and in this case the project was on time and under budget.

The committee has commented on a number of other issues in the report and they include heritage matters, environmental issues including the recommendations to consult with the Australian Greenhouse Office and consultation with other stakeholders. I do not propose to comment in detail on these issues as they are covered in the report.

In conclusion, the committee supports the stage 3 redevelopment of Lavarack Barracks and it is therefore recommended that the proposed work proceed at a cost of $170 million. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the committee, particularly the local member in this house today, and that of the committee staff—in particular, Gillian Gould and Tiana Gray who helped us with this particular report. I commend the report to the house.