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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1288

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaMinister for Small Business) (10:36): 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: Main Building Refresh Project, Geoscience Australia Building, Symonston, Australian Capital Territory.

Geoscience Australia is proposing to refurbish its main building in Symonston in the Australian Capital Territory. The Geoscience Australia building was purpose built in 1997 to support its primary research activities for the Australian government, industry and stakeholders. In addition to office areas, the building contains a dedicated laboratory and physical storage infrastructure.

In 2012, Geoscience Australia examined its ongoing business requirements for long-term accommodation beyond 2020. This resulted in Geoscience Australia renewing its lease of the Symonston facility through to 2032. That is a long way away, but it is important that we move on these particular things now, appreciating the fact that it is 15 years into the distance. Renewing leases is important. Also, making sure that we get value for money for the Commonwealth and, through it, the taxpayers is essential. The proposed works will further consolidate Geoscience Australia's operational footprint, improving the built density and providing opportunities for sublease that would generate additional revenue for the Commonwealth.

This is happening in the ACT and the government is committed to making sure that the ACT is looked after very much. Public servants are doing a fantastic job in so many departments. I know that, having been the Minister for Small Business since last July. Just last week, I was able to visit many of the public servants in my portfolio area. They were appreciative of the fact that I visited them at the ACCC, Treasury and, indeed, many of the other portfolio areas. I look forward to going to the Royal Australian Mint tomorrow.

The proposed works that I am discussing here with Geoscience Australia cover more than 19,000 square metres and include replacement of floor coverings and painting of internal wall surfaces. The work also includes changes to the overall fit-out to allow more flexible workspaces that will improve the delivery of core services for the government. The estimated cost to deliver the project is $17.50 million, excluding GST, and includes all costs such as builders' costs, furniture, fittings and equipment and workstations. It also includes provision for contingencies, cost escalation and associated design professional fees. A lease incentive towards fit-out, negotiated in 2013, will fund this initiative.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the refurbishments are expected to begin in mid-2017 with completion expected by late-2018. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.