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Thursday, 27 November 2003
Page: 23115


Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (9:35 AM) —I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to Parliament: New main entrance at the Lucas Heights Science and Technology Centre, Lucas Heights, NSW.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation proposes to construct a new main entrance at its Science and Technology Centre at Lucas Heights in New South Wales. The Lucas Heights Science and Technology Centre is the site of the high flux Australian reactor. This is the only operating research reactor in Australia. It is also the site of the replacement research reactor, which is currently under construction.

Current security measures at the centre have been reassessed due to the raised national and international security threat following the terrorist attacks in the United States of America in 2001. A security risk review undertaken by ASIO last year found that the existing main entrance to the centre was not designed to include the necessary level of integrated and coordinated security arrangements and measures required for the current threat environment, and that new available technology should be employed.

Issues contributing to the need for a new main entrance include: security issues arising from the age and design of the buildings and gateway entry, in particular the high ongoing cost of the additional guarding required to manage security at the entrance to the facility; the need to integrate security functions to ensure that access is granted only to authorised, escorted or supervised persons; general public and staff safety issues relating to the current situation of periodic traffic bank-up on New Illawarra Road whilst waiting to gain access to the site, particularly during peak hours; and efficiency in processing entry to staff and visitors.

The objectives of the proposed new main entrance include: the accommodation of any increase in the threat level to the centre; an integrated reception facility and gate control to allow contractors and visitors to be received, fully inducted and processed as required before passing through the Australian Protective Service guard officer station and into the facility; the facilitation of identity logging of all staff, contractors and visitors as they enter or exit the site; ensuring that in-depth security extends though the site; relocation of the new entry facility along an upgraded old alignment of New Illawarra Road in an appropriate location to allow traffic to clear the main New Illawarra Road at all times; development of procedures to facilitate efficient staff entry and exit at peak periods without compromising security; inclusion of provision for entry of large vehicles and fast entry of emergency vehicles, if required; and consistency in all aspects of the project with the construction and operation of the replacement research reactor.

The estimated out-turn cost of the proposed works is $10.336 million. In its report, the Public Works Committee has recommended that this project proceed. Subject to parliamentary approval, the construction will start late this year and be completed in 2005. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the committee for its support. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.