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Wednesday, 9 October 1991
Page: 1559

Mr PRICE (-Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)(4.27 p.m.) —-On behalf of the Minister for Small Business and Customs (Mr Beddall) 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: Special Broadcasting Service,relocation of radio and television, Artarmon, New South Wales.

Since its formation, the Special Broadcasting Service, SBS, has operated from leased premises, none of which were ever constructed to accommodate the special requirements of a broadcasting organisation. This creates a significant restraint on the types of programs that can be produced, as well as the efficiency of the organisation, with television being the most affected.

SBS radio, television and corporate activities in Sydney are currently accommodated in leased premises at Bondi Junction and Milsons Point. The two main leases are both due to expire in May 1993 and, while the SBS has options to extend at both locations, the availability of the Milsons Point premises cannot be guaranteed beyond May 1995. In addition to the uncertainties associated with future availability, the SBS wishes to relocate to more economical and appropriate premises in order to achieve financial and operational benefits.

The selected building is a 25-year-old industrial complex originally constructed for a large printing organisation. The total floor area is in excess of SBS's requirements, with the surplus being available to generate future revenue for the SBS. The work generally comprises essential repairs and maintenance to the fabric of the buildings, the upgrading of existing fire protection and building services in accordance with the current regulations, and the fitting out of approximately half of the existing building area to provide accommodation for SBS radio, television and corporate activities.

The total estimated cost of the project, including site acquisition, building adaptation and fit-out, technical equipment, consultants' fees and making good to existing leased premises, is $34.9m at June 1991 prices. The project is to be funded by SBS borrowings recently approved by the Loan Council, with repayments to be made from future rental and operational savings. It is planned that the construction will commence in January 1992 with occupation of the facilities in February 1993. I table selected drawings of the proposed relocation of the Special Broadcasting Service radio and television to Artarmon in New South Wales and I commend the motion to the House.