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Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Page: 23654

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (4:52 PM) —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: Proposed Christmas Island community recreation centre.

The Department of Transport and Regional Services proposes to construct a new community recreation centre on Christmas Island. In March 2002, the government announced that it would construct an immigration reception and processing centre and fund a dedicated community recreation centre on Christmas Island. The Department of Transport and Regional Services, in conjunction with the Christmas Island community, developed a scope of works for the recreation centre in the period that the infrastructure for the immigration reception and processing centre was being built.

Following completion of the infrastructure works for the immigration reception and processing centre and a community consultation process, there is now a strong community expectation that the Commonwealth will commence construction of the recreation centre. The proposed centre on Christmas Island will be in the form of a dedicated sports facility and will include: a swimming pool, a multi-use recreation hall, change rooms, and ancillary rooms and service areas. This project has been identified to serve the community needs of an increased population. With major projects such as the immigration reception and processing centre and the Asia Pacific Space Centre project still to be built, the long-term forecast for the population growth of Christmas Island has been estimated at 5,000.

The recreation centre is to be constructed adjacent to the existing community sports oval. This location, on the upper plateau, provides the most comfortable environmental conditions on the island for active sports. The new community infrastructure would achieve the following: support the objective of the government to provide conditions and services that are aligned with those in comparable mainland communities, provide all-weather sporting infrastructure and create short- and long-term job opportunities for the local community to help relieve unemployment and develop the skills base of the island. The proposed new community recreation centre is designed to balance the commercial and social benefits for all Christmas Islanders in this unique Commonwealth territory.

The works for the recreation centre will comply with all relevant Commonwealth and Western Australian town planning, building and safety regulations. All works will be undertaken to ensure that any potential environmental damage to the area is minimised. A comprehensive community consultation program has been implemented throughout the planning and development stages of the proposed community recreation centre, involving the Christmas Island administration, stakeholders and the local community. The estimated cost of the new proposal is $8 million. In its report, the Public Works Committee has recommended that this project proceed subject to its recommendations. The Department of Transport and Regional Services accepts the recommendations of the committee. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the committee for its support. I commend this motion to the House.

Question agreed to.