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Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Page: 2985

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance) (12:03): 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: Defence Terrestrial Communications Network Facilities and Infrastructure Project.

The Department of Defence is proposing to remediate and upgrade its terrestrial communications network facilities and communications infrastructure at 282 Defence sites in all states and territories. Successive independent reviews have identified the need for Defence to substantially improve the management of its information and communications technology. Defence's response has been a series of ICT reforms which will deliver significant business advantages to Defence by upgrading, replacing, standardising and rationalising its ICT network. Defence will use this opportunity to reduce operating costs and complexity, and provide new collaborative business processes for ICT users, such as wi-fi, mobile videoconferencing and remote access—very important. The project will include the provision of computer cabinets and storage, power, lighting, air conditioning, fire protection and security alarms. The project will also replace broken infrastructure and install fibre-optic cabling and connections to buildings. Defence will partner with Telstra to implement the transform network solution.

The upgrade is valued at $131.1 million plus GST. Funding has been approved by the government. The cost includes management and design fees, construction costs, furniture, fittings and equipment, contingencies and an allowance for escalation. The works will bring economic benefits to local industry at the 282 locations. Defence's investment will generate job opportunities for local subcontractors over the next two years. Subject to parliamentary approval of the project, construction is expected to commence in mid-2014, and should be completed on all sites by mid-2016. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.