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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2100

Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR (4:30 PM) —by leave—I support the comments made by the member for Pearce with respect to the two reports tabled today relating to the chancery building for the Australian High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand and provisions for facilities for Headquarters Joint Operations Command in New South Wales. The committee was, as the report tabled indicates, happy with the hearings. There is no doubt that there was a clear need for a refit of the chancery building in Wellington. There had been no refurbishment for a quarter of a century, and we are informed that there will be no need for further refit or refurbishment for the next 25 years.

Can I, in particular, make reference to the fourth report, the Provision of facilities for Headquarters Joint Operations Command, NSW. It is significant, as the chair indicated, that this is an entirely privately funded project presented for consideration. As the chair indicated, this posed some difficulties for the committee, as the project was referred at a very early stage of the development. I—and, I am sure, all members of the committee—concur with the chair that we must keep our eye on this project, given the amount of money involved, which is in excess of $300 million, and the unique nature of the project. As indicated by the member for Pearce, the committee were satisfied with both the need for the construction of the project and the arguments and submissions put to us.

This may be my last opportunity to thank, along with the chair, the secretariat. Without the assistance of the secretariat, I am sure the Public Works Committee, like other committees, could not do its job. In particular I would like to thank Margaret Swieringa; Vivienne Courto; Sara Edson; Tiana Di Iulio, who is on maternity leave for 12 months; and Emily Davis, who is acting in her stead. Those members of the secretariat, and possibly some others, have provided great assistance to the members of the committee, and I think that is one of the significant reasons why we have been able to achieve so much in this term.