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Friday, 20 March 1987
Page: 1248

Mr SCHOLES (Minister for Territories) —by leave-Honourable members will be interested to learn that the Government has reviewed the progress being made on the new Parliament House project during the six-month period to September 1986. Despite cuts made to the project's funding in the 1986 Budget satisfactory progress is being made. The building budget updated for inflation to August 1986 dollars now stands at $811.1m while the budget for non-building items is $171.3m. The total project budget is therefore $982.4m at August 1986 prices. The updating of the budgets reflects the adjustment of the uncompleted portion of the project for the effects of inflation in the six months period. This procedure has been applied throughout the life of the project. The only additional component has been an allowance of $13.9m to cover the cost of industrial disputes, exchange rate fluctuations and insolvencies of contractors-costs outside the control of the Parliament House Construction Authority.

Every effort is being made to keep the costs of the project within budget and, while reductions in the quality of some finishes and the scope of landscaping planned are unfortunate, economic circumstances demand this discipline to contain costs. Honourable members should note that, with the exception of the 14-week closure in 1984, the new Parliament House project has been remarkably free of industrial disputation-a record better in fact than most comparable projects. The building is one of great importance to all Australians and will be an enduring monument to Australian materials and skills.