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Wednesday, 27 March 1985
Page: 1016

Mr WEST (Minister for Housing and Construction)(4.36) —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: Construction of new Commonwealth Offices at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport.

Mr Hodgman —Whose electorate is this one in?

Mr WEST —The honourable member must admit that we are doing very well in respect of capital works. The proposed work involves construction of a multi-level office complex on a site within the airport boundary to accommodate essential on-airport Commonwealth functions associated with the operations of the international terminal building and cargo complexes. The Australian Customs Service, the Australian Federal Police and the departments of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Defence and Local Government and Administrative Services will be located in the building. The proposal is designed to overcome the present unsatisfactory arrangements and to provide appropriate and adequate facilities for both staff and the public for many years to come. The proposed building is a cost-effective and functional design of reinforced concrete construction. External cladding will be highly resistant to corrosion and staining by the industrial fallout and salt laden air prevalent in the area. Staff associations and other concerned bodies have been fully consulted in the development of the proposal.

The proposed work was referred to the Committee in September 1984, but the reference lapsed when the Committee was unable to complete its enquiries and table a report before the dissolution of the House in October 1984. The Government now wishes the proposal to be again referred for consideration and report.

The provision of a single Commonwealth-owned building has economic as well as operational advantages. At the public hearing held last October, the Public Works Committee was advised of rental savings and the potential for revenue through release of valuable space in the international terminal. There will be advantages to the construction and associated industries through the generation of the equivalent of 90 full time jobs during the construction period of nearly two years.

The estimated cost of the proposed work when previously referred to the Committee was $6.9m at May 1984 prices. The current cost, at February 1985 prices, is $7.6m. The increase is due solely to increases in the cost of labour and materials as measured by my Department's building price index. I present plans of the proposed work and commend the motion to the House.