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Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Page: 8265

TS Pioneer: Air-Conditioning

(Question No. 396)


Mr Christensen asked the Minister for Defence, in writing, on 26 May 2011:

(1) Is he aware that a request for air-conditioning in the sleeping quarters of the Training Ship Pioneer Australian Navy Cadet (TS Pioneer ANC) in Mackay that was made by the TS Pioneer ANC Parents'Committee in late 2007 is still unfulfilled even though the Committee offered to pay for the entire cost of the air-conditioning system, including installation.

(2) Is he aware that, while the TS Pioneer ANC parents' committee gained a quote for $25,000 for the purchase and installation of the air-conditioning system, his department, after consideration of the request, costed the purchase and installation of an air-conditioning system at $80,000.

(3) Can he explain why there is such a discrepancy between the quote obtained by the TS Pioneer ANC Parents' Committee and the estimate provided by his department for the purchase and installation of this air-conditioning system.

(4) Can he explain why an air-conditioning system has been installed inside the wet mess at the Komiatum Barracks before an air-conditioning system is due to be installed inside the neighbouring TS Pioneer ANC sleeping quarters.

(5) Is he aware that temperatures reach 36 degrees Celsius inside the TS Pioneer ANC sleeping quarters, which is in breach of Comcare regulations.

(6) Is he aware that the TS Pioneer ANC Parents' Committee has been advised by his department that the purchase and installation of the air-conditioning system at the TS Pioneer ANC sleeping quarters could occur in 2011-12.

(7) Is there anything preventing the installation of this air-conditioning system from occurring on 1 July 2011; if so, what, and on what date then, is the installation scheduled to occur.


Mr Stephen Smith: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Defence is aware of an offer by the Parents' Committee to provide funding to air condition the dormitory. Defence does not generally accept funds from third parties to undertake facilities works on Defence owned buildings. Defence has agreed to fund the purchase and installation of an air conditioning system into the dormitory.

(2) Defence does not have a copy of the quote obtained by the Parents' Committee but understands that it was for the purchase and installation of off-the-shelf split air-conditioning systems. The Defence cost estimate of $80,000 is for an engineer designed solution that meets the requirements of Commonwealth and Defence building codes that apply to all Defence facilities and are stringently applied to sleeping areas.

(3) Defence is unaware of the process, design parameters, or compliance requirements that the Parents' Committee may have used to obtain their quotation and is therefore unable to discuss a direct comparison between the Parents' Committee quote and the Defence project costs.

Defence is required to follow a very prescriptive process through design and procurement to ensure that the designed solution achieves compliance with the Building Code of Australia, Defence fire protection engineering requirements, energy efficiency and environmental regulations, and competitive tendering. Defence needs to ensure maintainability and fitness for purpose for the life of the systems. This discrepancy is assumed to be a result of the differing approach taken by the Parents' Committee.

(4) The air-conditioning installed in the mess area at Komiatum Barracks was a maintenance upgrade to an existing system not a new installation. This upgrade was part of a separate project for refurbishment of the existing structures at Komiatum Barracks.

(5) The Komiatum Barracks' dormitory is designed to be cooled with flow through ventilation and ceiling fans. Defence is not aware that the temperature reaches 36 degrees Celsius inside the Komiatum Barracks' dormitory.

(6) Defence has approved funding and a project to air condition the Komiatum Barracks' dormitory for the financial year 2011-12.

(7) A procurement process will be undertaken shortly and once a sub-contractor has been identified the purchase of the air conditioners and installation works can commence. The works are planned for delivery in the July to September 2011 quarter.