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Thursday, 21 March 2013
Page: 2913

Mr GRAY (BrandSpecial Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity) (10:22): I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to Parliament:

New National Archives preservation facility for the National Archives of Australia at Mitchell, Australian Capital Territory.

The National Archives of Australia preserves valuable Commonwealth records as part of the archival resources of Australia and makes them available to present and future generations of Australians.

The National Archives presently leases a number of facilities across Australia, with the largest record storage facilities being located at Mitchell and Greenway in the Australian Capital Territory, Chester Hill in New South Wales and East Burwood in Victoria. A comprehensive strategic planning study undertaken from the National Archives on the existing record storage capacity and capability against projected future requirements confirmed that repositories were operating at close to full capacity. Current estimation is that the National Archives will be full by 2015. A 2010 survey of Commonwealth agencies identified a backlog of 165 shelf kilometres of archives that will, in time, be transferred to the National Archives.

The National Archives preservation facility was developed under the two-stage capital works budget approvals process. The new National Archives preservation facility at Mitchell, together with the proposed refurbishment of the existing Mitchell facility and an internally funded upgrade of the Archives' Sydney facility, will provide growth space until 2031. The Greenway facility in the ACT will be relinquished. The new facility will enable the National Archives to partly address the 165-shelf-kilometre backlog, provide sufficient storage for growth until 2031, provide a greater capacity and capability for a digital repository and provide improved preservation and conservation work areas.

In its report, the Public Works Committee has recommended that these works proceed. Subject to parliamentary approval, a multistage procurement process will commence in 2013. The successful developer will commence work on construction of the new facility and the integrated fit-out in 2015, with occupancy planned for late 2016. On behalf of the government, I thank the committee for its support and commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.