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Thursday, 13 March 2008
Page: 1683

Dr KELLY (Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support) (9:23 AM) —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: Hardened and Networked Army (HNA) facilities at Edinburgh Defence precinct, South Australia.

The Hardened and Networked Army initiative, which was approved by government in December 2005, greatly strengthens the Army’s protection, mobility, firepower and communications, allowing operations in more complex, dangerous and uncertain environments. This proposal was referred to the Public Works Committee on 9 August 2007, but the reference lapsed when the previous committee ceased to exist with the prorogation of parliament on 15 October 2007. The initiative will increase options for the government in terms of both the combat weight of the force that can be deployed and the duration that forces can be sustained on operations. As part of this initiative the 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, 7RAR, is being reraised as a mechanised infantry battalion. The battalion currently occupies temporary facilities in Darwin but will be based at Edinburgh Defence Precinct, Adelaide, along with supporting artillery, combat engineer and logistics troops.

The Hardened and Networked Army Facilities project at Edinburgh Defence Precinct, at an estimated outturn cost of $623.68 million plus GST, will provide working accommodation and training facilities, urban warfare training facilities, a driver training area, a vehicle wash point and common user facilities for both Army and Air Force, including health, messing, fitness and community facilities. The project will deliver a high-priority defence capability requirement. It will also deliver economic benefits for South Australia and provide a popular posting location for Army personnel. Subject to parliamentary approval, construction is planned to commence in mid-2008 and be completed by December 2011. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.