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Wednesday, 10 October 1984
Page: 1593

Senator KILGARIFF —by leave-I will speak briefly to the report of the Public Works Committee. I support the remarks of the Chairman, Senator Foreman. I have not actually seen the tabled report, but being a member of the Sub-committee that has taken evidence regarding the upgrading of these houses in Darwin, I wish to speak on this matter very briefly.

I note that in the recommendations of the Department of Housing and Construction and the Department of Defence three options were given for this upgrading: Firstly, to upgrade to a degree; secondly, to rebuild houses, which would be much more expensive; and, thirdly, to lease more houses in the Darwin community. In supporting Senator Foreman I wish to say, too, that I believe that the option that has been put up by the Public Works Committee is a much more sensible one. It will mean that the Defence Department will have a better asset for the future. I say 'better asset' because not only will many of the houses be upgraded but some will be rebuilt. The option that was given to the Committee was in my estimation of insufficient standard for people living in a tropical climate. There were problems in the reticulation of water and power and there were insufficient power points, which meant that only two types of electrical equipment could be used at once. All in all, I believe that the money that was suggested should be spent in the upgrading of the houses would have been money ill-spent because the standard of housing was insufficient.

I have not received a copy of the report, but I understand that the Chairman of the Public Works Committee, Senator Foreman, has said that the Government has agreed to the submission, or at least is looking into the matter further. I believe this is most essential. I commend to the Government acceptance of the Public Works Committee recommendation, which is another option.