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Thursday, 22 June 2017
Page: 15

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaMinister for Small Business) (10:44): 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: JP2008 Phase 5B2 Wideband Satellite Capability—Satellite Ground Station—East Facilities Project.

The Department of Defence is proposing to construct facilities to support a satellite ground station at Kapooka Military Area near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales in the fine electorate of Riverina. The project will provide facilities to enable anchoring of enhanced wideband satellite communications. The proposed works will involve the construction of a transmission building, foundations for three satellite dishes and associated supporting infrastructure and engineering services. The proposed site is an open field inside the southern boundary of the Kapooka Military Area, and the facility will be serviced by a small number of maintenance personnel and operated remotely.

The capital investment in the infrastructure will bring economic benefits to the local economy during construction and throughout its ongoing sustainment. The estimated cost to deliver the project is $34 million excluding GST. This includes the construction costs, professional service fees, management fees, contingencies and an allowance for escalation.

The Kapooka army base in Wagga Wagga is the unmistakable home of the Australian soldier. The Army Recruit Training Centre within Blamey Barracks was originally established in 1951 as the 1st Recruit Training Battalion and is now a world-class training establishment for soldiers who join the Australian Army. In fact, other than those admitted through the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, the basic training of every recruit—each and every one of them—to the Australian Army happens at Kapooka.

The significance of the Defence family to Wagga Wagga cannot be overstated, and to see those soldiers march out on their graduation parades is always a pleasure. I know the work of army leadership, including Kapooka's new commandant, Mick Garraway, is something my community and the whole nation appreciates. This motion today builds on that future. Subject to parliamentary approval, construction of the satellite ground station is scheduled to commence in mid-2018 and is expected to be completed by late 2019. I commend this important motion to the House.

Question agreed to.