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Thursday, 21 August 2003
Page: 19209

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (1:40 PM) —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: Proposed Christmas Island community recreation centre.

The Department of Transport and Regional Services proposes to construct a new community recreation centre on Christmas Island. In March last year, the government announced that it would construct an immigration reception and processing centre and fund a dedicated community recreation centre on Christmas Island. The Department of Transport and Regional Services, in conjunction with the Christmas Island community, developed a scope of works for the recreation centre in the period that the infrastructure for the immigration reception and processing centre was being built. Following completion of the infrastructure works for the immigration reception and processing centre and following a community consultation process, there is now a strong community expectation that the Commonwealth will commence construction of the recreation centre. The proposed recreation centre on Christmas Island will be in the form of a dedicated sports facility and will include a swimming pool, a multiuse recreation hall, change rooms, and ancillary rooms and service areas.

This project has been identified to serve the community needs of an increased population. With major projects such as the immigration reception and processing centre and the Asia Pacific Space Centre project still to be built, the long-term forecast for the population growth of Christmas Island has been estimated at 5,000. The recreation centre is to be constructed adjacent to the existing community sports oval. This location on the upper plateau provides the most comfortable environmental conditions on the island for active sports. The new community infrastructure will support the objective of the government to provide conditions and services that are aligned with those in comparable mainland communities. It will provide all-weather sporting infrastructure and create short- and long-term job opportunities for the local community, to help relieve unemployment and develop the skill base of the island.

The proposed new community recreation centre is designed to balance the commercial and social benefits for all Christmas Islanders in this unique Commonwealth territory. The works for the recreation centre will comply with all relevant Commonwealth and Western Australian town planning, building and safety regulations. All works will be undertaken to ensure that any potential environmental damage to the area is minimised. A comprehensive community consultation program has been implemented throughout the planning and development stages of the proposed community recreation centre, involving the Christmas Island administration, stakeholders and the local community. The estimated cost of the new proposal is $8 million. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.