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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1503

Mr HURFORD (Minister for Housing and Construction)(5.08) —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: Construction of a submarine warfare systems centre, HMAS Watson, South Head, New South Wales.

The proposal referred to the Committee is for the construction of a new building at HMAS Watson for the submarine warfare systems centre which provides operator training for the combat system of the Navy's Oberon class submarine force. HMAS Watson is located on South Head, Sydney, and is a training establishment providing advanced courses in tactics, navigation, anti-submarine warfare and training on the fleet's weapon systems. Functions to be accommodated in the new facility are tactical development, training, including simulators, computer facilities, technical support and administration. The proposal involves demolition of an existing structure and construction of a three-level building partly set into the site to minimise its height above ground level and impact on the skyline of South Head. The building will be of concrete construction with external finishes designed to match the colour and texture of the natural rock prominent in this area. The Committee has reported favourably on the proposal and has recommended construction of the work in the reference.

The Committee has noted the concerns expressed by local citizens' groups, in particular the Vaucluse Progress Association, and the Sydney Harbour and Foreshores Committee about the likely impact of the proposed building on the adjacent historic cottage. The Committee considered alternative designs prepared by my Department but agreed that the additional costs involved were not warranted. The Committee has asked that careful consideration be given to landscaping and that a landscape plan of management be developed. These matters relate to the very prominent location of HMAS Watson itself as well as to the siting of the proposed building and will receive close attention during the detailed design phase now to follow. Establishment of a formal landscape management plan along the lines envisaged by the Committee will also be considered during this period in consultation with a consultant landscape architect who has assisted in the past on projects in this sensitive area. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $3.42m at July 1984 prices. If the House agrees to support this motion, planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.