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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 3828

Mr BEALE(10.35) —I thank the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr West) for making the information available to me. The Minister referred to the fact that, in speaking to the motion to refer this work to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I said that the unit cost of the houses seemed high. I still think it seems high. Even $71,000 per house seems high, particularly when one takes into account that, firstly, the engineering services that are necessary are part of the infrastructure that will go to the replacement of the houses and, secondly, that that price excludes the price of land.

Mr Saunderson —Have you ever been to Woomera?

Mr BEALE —Yes. I am glad to get an assurance from the Minister that recommendation 3 (B) of the Committee-namely, that all other government departments and statutory bodies be required to upgrade their houses-will not be proceeded with. The Opposition notes that the annual repair costs are running at about $3,000 per house a year-that is, $60,000 over a 20-year period, which is just about the cost of these replacement houses. We would also like an assurance from the Minister that these houses be built with maintenance free materials. Furthermore, the question of normalising the town is relevant because the Department of Defence has only 50 houses out of 300. The South Australian Government and the United States Air Force also have houses that are substandard. The Minister's timetable is obscure as to consultations with representatives of these groups. Again, I would be glad to have an assurance from the Minister that these discussions will continue in such a way that the best interests of Woomera township are protected.

Furthermore, the landscaping costs for these houses seem to be, at best, pretty fancy. The Minister has said that I do not seem to be able to grasp the fact that the private sector is involved in construction. In the past year I have consistently urged the Minister to ensure that the maximum amount of design and construction work is given to the private sector, and I am glad that at last in his responses on these projects he is referring to this.

Mr West —But it has always been so.

Mr BEALE —It has not. Fifty per cent of the design work for the Department of Housing and Construction is done by that Department and 50 per cent is done by the private sector.

Mr Saunderson —So what?

Mr BEALE —So what? The Minister said that it is so. It is not so. The Opposition has no objection to this motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.