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Thursday, 21 August 2003
Page: 19210


Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (1:44 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: Development of off-base housing for Defence at Queanbeyan, NSW.

The Defence Housing Authority proposes a major residential development to provide 40 new residences at Queanbeyan in New South Wales. The role of the Defence Housing Authority is to provide suitable housing to meet the operational needs of the Australian Defence Force and the requirements of the Department of Defence. The Defence Housing Authority satisfies Defence accommodation requirements with a mixture of off-base construction, with a view to retaining the properties or selling them with a lease attached; on-base construction, to accord with Defence operational or policy requirements; and/or, if such construction is the most cost-effective for all concerned, direct purchase with a view to retaining the properties or selling them with a lease attached, and direct lease from the private rental market.

In locations where there is a high level of Defence demand, constructed housing delivered through bulk procurement contracts is the most effective provisioning option because plans can be geared to Defence requirements. This project involves developing a residential site previously used as a pitch-and-putt business in Queanbeyan. The site is presently vacant.

Defence Housing Authority surveys undertaken with defence personnel based in the Australian Capital Territory region have shown a clear preference for detached dwellings, with townhouses being the second choice. Apartments are the least preferred. Taking these preferences into account, it is proposed to construct 40 residences comprising 33 detached dwellings and seven townhouses. The new residences will be fully compliant with current Defence and community standards.

The proposed project will have a positive effect on the local community and economy during the construction period, both through persons working directly on the site and through the many more persons working off-site supplying material, plant and equipment. The construction of these new dwellings is not expected to affect either the sale or rental markets for residential accommodation in the Queanbeyan area. The estimated cost of the proposal is $12 million. Subject to parliamentary and Defence Housing Authority board approval, the construction program is planned to commence in February next year, with the delivery of all completed dwellings expected to occur by November 2004. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.