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Thursday, 21 March 2013
Page: 2918

Mr GRAY (BrandSpecial Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity) (10:38): 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:

Landing Helicopter Dock Ship sustainment facilities at Garden Island and Randwick Barracks in Sydney, New South Wales.

The new Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment—ADAS—program comprises a number of projects to enhance the Australian Defence Force's amphibious capability, including the acquisition of two new Canberra class landing helicopter dock—LHD—amphibious assault ships for the Royal Australian Navy.

The ADAS program aims to provide the Australian Defence Force with a multi-dimensional manoeuvre capability in support of the Australian Defence Force's future operating concept. The two new Canberra class LHDs will replace the heavy landing ship HMAS Tobruk and two amphibious landing ships, HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla. Each new LHD will be capable of embarking, transporting and deploying a force of over 1,000 personnel by air and sea, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores. The LHDs will also be capable of conducting and supporting humanitarian missions, and will be jointly crewed with personnel from Navy, Army and Air Force.

The LHD hulls are being built by Navantia at the Fene-Ferrol shipyard in Spain. The hulls will then be transported to Australia as individual lifts on a float-on float-off, heavy-lift ship. Construction of the LHD superstructures and their consolidation with the hulls are then conducted by BAE Systems in their Williamstown shipyard in Victoria.

The first LHD arrived at the Williamstown shipyard in October 2012. The first completed LHD HMAS Canberra is due for delivery in early 2014. The LHD ship sustainment facilities project will provide permanent maintenance, systems support and berthing infrastructure at Garden Island, plus training facilities at Randwick Barracks, Sydney, New South Wales.

Garden Island in Sydney will be the operational base for the new LHDs and the project proposes to co-locate and share certain new facilities with the new air warfare destroyers that will also operate from Sydney. At Garden Island there will be berthing infrastructure upgrades to the wharves and a new, shared three-storey office building to accommodate personnel involved in maintaining and keeping the ships operational.

At Randwick Barracks there will be a new LHD training centre for crews, which will also be co-located and share certain facilities with an air warfare destroyer training centre. The estimated cost of the proposal is $60.3 million plus GST and includes all delivery costs, management and design fees, construction costs, information communication technology, furniture, fittings and equipment, contingencies and an allowance for escalation.

Capital investment in the project will have economic benefits for the Sydney region and local industry, with significant opportunities for subcontractors and the construction industry over the next three years. Subject to parliamentary approval construction is expected to commence later this year and be completed by late 2015. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.