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Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Page: 94


Mrs MOYLAN (4:06 PM) —On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Public Works I present the fourth and fifth reports for 2005 of the committee relating to the development of on-base housing for Defence at Puckapunyal, Victoria, and a Defence Science and Technology Organisation Ordnance Breakdown Facility, Port Wakefield, South Australia.

Ordered that the reports be made parliamentary papers.


Mrs MOYLAN —by leave—The first of the proposed works is intended to provide 80 on-base houses to meet current and future Defence Force accommodation requirements at the Puckapunyal military area. The Defence Housing Authority intends that delivery of the new homes will occur progressively between February and November 2006. The estimated cost of the project is $19.6 million. The proposed works will comprise the construction of 80 houses and associated stormwater drainage, communications, sewerage reticulation, gas and electrical services.

The committee visited the site of the proposed works and conducted a public hearing at Puckapunyal on 20 April 2005. After exploring a variety of issues relating to the need for the new homes—consultation with stakeholders, the provision of services and amenities and the environmental management of the project—the committee was satisfied that the works would meet all stated project objectives and would represent an improved level of amenity for defence families. The committee therefore recommends that the works proceed at the estimated cost of $19.6 million.

The committee’s fifth report of 2005 addresses works required to enhance defence research capability in respect of explosive ordnance and weaponry. This research is necessary to support the work of the Australian Defence Force and associated organisations in ensuring national security. At present, research into weapons and ordnance is conducted at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation facility at Edinburgh, South Australia, and the Proof and Experimental Establishment at Port Wakefield. Safety requirements at these sites currently limit investigations to small-size ordnance. The proposed work would address this deficiency by enabling research into a wider range of explosive ordnance and weapons.

Work elements to meet Defence’s objectives consist of a control room for the remote monitoring and operation of ordnance breakdown equipment in other areas of the facility; a cutting building for the radiography and remotely controlled cutting of ordnance; a disassembly building for the safe radiographic examination and breakdown of explosive ordnance; two explosive ordnance storehouses; a storage building to house general equipment; engineering services, including power, water, sewerage, communications and sealed roads; and security provisions comprising fencing and a type 1 security system.

In the course of its inquiry, the committee was assured that the proposed works would take account of all necessary occupational and public safety requirements and would also entail appropriate security measures. The committee was also satisfied at the level of consultation conducted by the department with the community and other stakeholders, including the execution of land acquisition procedures. In respect of environmental impacts, members were pleased to learn that the works would result in improvements to the habitat of an endangered local bird species and, further, that the Proof and Experimental Establishment site had met four of the eight criteria for inclusion on the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance. Having thoroughly examined the proposal, the committee recommends that the construction of an ordnance breakdown facility for the Defence Science and Technology Organisation at Port Wakefield, South Australia, proceed at the estimated cost of $8.4 million.

I would like to extend my thanks once again to my committee colleagues, the secretariat, the Hansard staff of this parliament and all those who helped with the inquiries. I commend the reports to the House.