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Tuesday, 24 June 2003
Page: 17316


Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (4:40 PM) —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: Redevelopment of Radiopharmaceutical Production Building No. 23 at Lucas Heights, NSW.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation proposes the redevelopment of radiopharmaceutical production building No. 23 at Lucas Heights in the state of New South Wales. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation is our national nuclear research and development organisation and is central to the nuclear expertise of Australia. It is a knowledge based organisation that specialises in the delivery of specific scientific products and services to government, industry, academia and other research organisations.

The organisation is responsible for the operation of the national nuclear facilities of Australia. Two of these facilities, the high flux Australian reactor and the national medical cyclotron, produce radioisotopes for use in industry, medicine and research. In 1997, the government agreed to replace the high flux Australian reactor, and the replacement research reactor is currently being constructed. It is expected to be commissioned in 2005-06 and will have a much greater production capacity for radioisotopes.

Production of radioisotopes for use in nuclear medicine commenced in the 1960s. Since then, there has been continuing growth in the use of nuclear medicine in Australia for diagnosis, therapy and palliation of pain. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation is the main supplier of radioisotopes for nuclear medicine in Australia. The manufacture of radioisotopes is largely conducted in building 23, which is located adjacent to the high flux Australian reactor and close to the replacement research reactor. Building 23 has been subject to almost continuous modification and addition since construction began in 1959. This facility was planned as a research facility but has evolved into a full production facility. The present layout, facilities and services infrastructure reflect the incremental development that has led to increasing occupational health and safety issues arising.

The proposed works comprise an extension to the north and east of the existing building 23 on three levels. It will comprise modern, quality controlled chemistry laboratories; service and instrumentation rooms; production clean room facilities; packaging and dispatch facilities; stores and component wash bays; amenities and support, including new building entry, male and female locker rooms, bulk consumable and secure stores, maintenance areas, airlocks and building services plant rooms; associated roadwork extensions; and additional parking bays, landscaping, engineering and communication services.

The project is subject to the regulatory requirements of the Department of Health and Ageing in respect of radiological safety and the manufacture of pharmaceutical products. It is subject to the regulatory requirements of the Department of the Environment and Heritage in respect of environmental impact. The estimated out-turn cost of the proposed works is $17.9 million. Subject to parliamentary and regulatory approvals, the construction will start towards the end of this year and be completed in 2005. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.