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Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Page: 3073


Mr COLEMAN (BanksAssistant Minister for Finance) (12:55): 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: Facilities to support naval operations in the north.

The Department of Defence proposes to construct a new wharf at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin to support the Navy and the Australian Defence Force more broadly. Darwin is strategically vital for Australia's defence, being the only port capable of providing war facilities to support naval maritime activities conducted in the region. Competition for wharf space in Darwin has increased a lot over the years, and the new wharf will alleviate current constraints. The project will also include the construction of a new fuel facility that will store larger quantities of fuel for berthed vessels. This project aligns with the 2016 defence white paper's advice on the importance of key enabling capabilities of defence bases. The paper foreshadows the upgrading of HMAS Coonawarra to support the new offshore patrol vessels.

This project will employ up to 240 skilled contractors and construction workers. The estimated project cost is $272.6 million, excluding GST; future personnel and operating costs are estimated at $4.1 million. Subject to parliamentary approval, construction is expected to start in October 2019 and be completed by mid-2023. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.