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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3455


Mr NEUMANN (BlairParliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing and Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General) (10:33): On behalf of the Special Minister of State, 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: Multi National Base Tarin Kot Remediation Project, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

The Australian Defence Force—ADF—has developed an extensive infrastructure footprint at the Multinational Base, Tarin Kot, in Afghanistan—which I will refer to as 'the base' in the course of this speech—to support its mission over the last eight years, ranging from simple accommodation building to utilities such as water treatment plants.

In March 2013, the government announced Australia's redeployment from, and closure of, the base at the end of this year. This decision was made in conjunction with the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan authorities. The announcement confirmed the transfer of lead security responsibility in Uruzgan province to the Afghanistan National Security Forces, the Australian Defence Force redeployment from the base and the remediation of Australian infrastructure and facilities at the base.

In anticipation of this announcement, the Department of Defence has developed a demanding remediation program to achieve the government's intent and international obligations. The cost at worst case will be $47.2 million to ensure the safety of the full site, for future Afghan use, and environmental cleanliness.

In its report, the public works committee has recommended that these works proceed, subject to parliamentary approval. The remediation is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the committee for its support, and I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.