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Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Page: 23652

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (4:43 PM) —I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to Parliament: 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 by a mixture of construction off base, with a view to retaining the properties or selling them with a lease attached; construction on base to accord with defence operational or policy requirements, 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 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 market or the rental market for residential accommodation in the Queanbeyan area. The estimated cost of the proposal is $12 million.

In its report the Public Works Committee has recommended that this project proceed. 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. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the committee for its support. I commend the motion to the House.