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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31560

Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR (4:26 PM) —I feel obliged as Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Works to comment on what is indeed an unusual motion to rescind a motion referring matters to the Public Works Committee. It is important for the chamber to know—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. I.R. Causley)—The honourable member for Burke is obviously going to debate the matter. Is leave granted for the parliamentary secretary to move his motion?

Leave granted.

Mr SLIPPER —If the honourable member wishes to speak, there will be an opportunity after the motion has been moved. I move:


(a) the resolution of the House of Representatives of 26 May 2004 referring the proposed refurbishment of ANZAC Park East and ANZAC Park West Buildings and fit-out of ANZAC Park West Building, Parkes, ACT, to the Joint Standing Committee on Public Works, be rescinded, and

(b) in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, and by reason of the urgent nature of the work, it is expedient that the following proposed work it be carried out without having been referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Public Works: Refurbishment of ANZAC Park East and ANZAC Park West Buildings and fit-out of ANZAC Park West Building at Parkes in the Australian Capital Territory.

A proposal to proceed with a construction project without referral to the Public Works Committee is not common, because the government supports and endorses the role of the committee and appreciates the value that the committee adds to projects. However, there are some instances where referral to the committee is just not feasible.

This is currently the case with the proposal put forward by the Department of Finance and Administration on 26 May 2004 to refurbish the ANZAC Park East and ANZAC Park West office buildings in Parkes in the Australian Capital Territory and the fit-out of the ANZAC Park West building by the Australian Federal Police. In the absence of a date for the federal election and the timing required post-election to reconstitute the Public Works Committee, proceeding with referral of the project at this time would place the delivery date of the project at significant risk.

Based on the advice of the Public Works Committee, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Australian Federal Police have requested an exemption of the project from consideration by the committee on the grounds of urgency. I do stress that this is based on the advice given to the government by the Public Works Committee. I see my friend opposite, the member for Burke, nodding.

The urgency arises because the project must commence in accordance with the current timetable to ensure that ANZAC Park West is ready for the relocation of the Australian Federal Police in July 2006. Failure to gain approval prior to the dissolution of the parliament may result in a delay in commencement of the project until March next year.

The Australian Federal Police has confirmed that extending its current lease is not an option and that any delay in the relocation will have a significant impact both financially and in terms of its capability to meet its operational responsibilities. The Public Works Committee—and the committee's deputy chair is about to speak—has advised the government that it recognises the urgency of the proposed works and supports this motion.

The estimated out-turn cost of the refurbishment of Anzac Park East and Anzac Park West buildings is $83.7 million, including construction and other related elements such as consultant fees, project management costs and supervision. The total estimated out-turn cost of these works is $105.7 million, consisting of $83.7 million for the refurbishment and $22 million for the fit-out of the Anzac Park West building. I commend the motion to the chamber.