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Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Page: 4302


Mr BUTLER (5:15 PM) —On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I present the second report of the committee for 2009 relating to the proposed redevelopment of RAAF Base Edinburgh, Adelaide, South Australia.

Ordered that the report be made a parliamentary paper.


Mr BUTLER —by leave—This report addresses the RAAF Base Edinburgh redevelopment stage 2, in Adelaide, South Australia, valued at $99.56 million, which was referred to the committee on 26 February 2009. Notably, these works come on the back of a number of other works particularly relating to the Hardened and Networked Army initiative, which in total means that around $800 million of capital works is either underway or is about to be underway, assuming parliament approves this report. At the one base in Edinburgh in northern Adelaide over the course of this year, next year and into 2011, there will be an extraordinary amount of capital works on a very important base, which is well overdue for refurbishment.

The redevelopment stage 2 proposal will provide a range of refurbished facilities to meet the functional requirements of several Air Force units, to enhance base security and to upgrade engineering services at the base. The local member, the member for Wakefield, who is a member of our committee, in public hearings on this referral and on previous referrals relating to Edinburgh particularly raised questions about the impact of the project on local employment and the capacity of local businesses to access work under the project. The committee is satisfied that local companies and workers will be competitive in securing contracts on the project and welcomes this level of employment activity in the Adelaide region. During the public hearing and the private hearing for this referral, Defence was able to give us some figures on the number of local workers and local businesses who have been able to access the Hardened and Networked Army initiative work. Some 1,300 workers have already been inducted to that aspect of the base refurbishment and it is very clear that the area of northern Adelaide is benefiting significantly in employment and business terms from the refurbishment of the base. The committee was also pleased to hear that the Department of Defence is taking steps to alleviate traffic congestion, which is quite significant around the Edinburgh Defence Precinct.

The committee commends the environmentally sustainable initiatives taken by the Department of Defence at the Edinburgh Defence Precinct, including installing electricity submeters and implementing strategies to reduce demand for potable water. The committee considers that these initiatives will provide a good example of sustainable building practices for other Commonwealth agencies involved in the provision of public works. In the report, the committee has made additional commentary encouraging all Commonwealth agencies to lead by example by implementing sustainable water initiatives in government construction. The committee intends to monitor those issues in future referrals by this parliament.

While a number of issues were raised with the committee, it has reported on an exception-only basis on issues that it thought warranted further comment—which is now its practice. I would urge those interested in this work to supplement the report with the transcripts and submissions available on the committee’s website. The committee has recommended that the House resolve that the works be carried out. I would like to thank the members and senators on the committee for its work in relation to this inquiry. As always, I thank the secretariat for their support, although I note that, as I table this report, the inquiry secretary, Ms Siobhan Leyne, is at the moment sunning herself on the Iberian Peninsula and in the northern areas of Africa, which is instilling some level of jealousy in me. With those few words, I commend the report to the House.