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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 13903

Mr GARRETT (Kingsford SmithMinister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (11:00): On behalf of the Special Minister of State, I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, and by reason of the urgent nature of the works, it is expedient that the following work be carried out without having been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works: Infrastructure and upgrade works to establish Regional Processing Centres on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

The report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers was released on 13 August 2012 and was tabled in the Senate on 12 September 2012. The Australian government has announced in-principle agreement to implement the panel's recommendations, including recommendations 8 and 9 that propose the establishment of capacity to process irregular maritime arrivals in Nauru and on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

On 1 November 2012, an expediency motion was agreed for preliminary works at two sites on Nauru: the Topside facility and staff accommodation. There is now an urgent need to continue construction work at these sites, and to commence works on the second facility on Nauru and preliminary works for a permanent facility on Manus Island as soon as sites are agreed by host governments.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has consulted with the Chair of the Public Works Committee, who has supported continuation of the works, given their urgent nature. During the exemption period, DIAC will report fortnightly to the Public Works Committee on progress and will arrange for the remainder of the works to be referred to the Public Works Committee for scrutiny. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.