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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1421

Mr WEST (Minister for Housing and Construction)(5.03) —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 State head office building for Telecom Australia, Sydney.

The proposed work is for the construction of a major high rise office building in the Sydney central business district to provide a new State head office for Telecom Australia. The new building is to be constructed immediately adjacent to the existing Telecom House between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets. It will enable Telecom staff and State head office activities to be consolidated on the one site and allow expensive leased space elsewhere in the city to be relinquished. The proposed building will provide some 29,000 square metres of office floor area in 33 levels above ground. Associated works will include modifications to the existing through site shopping arcade and the provision of additional retail space for rental.

For the benefit of members who have some rapport with the city, the site, known as Telecom Plaza, is near the Central Railway Station and is within the Brickfield Hill precinct, an area steeped in the early commercial history of Sydney. Telecom is fortunate in already having a substantial site in this area. It was being held for future expansion of the City South telephone exchange but the increased capacity and reduced physical size of modern exchange equipment has now released the site for alternative development. Major Telecom office accommodation is already located on portions of the site. The building will be of reinforced concrete construction with a largely column free internal area to maximise flexibility for office planning. The exterior will be clad with precast concrete panels with a stone finish. Energy conservation has been an important criterion in the design. Solar heat loads will be minimised by providing tinted double glazing and a computerised energy management control system will be installed.

The environmental impact is an important consideration in the design of major office buildings and wind tunnel testing has been used to investigate likely wind movements at pedestrian levels. Relevant local council and other authorities have been extensively consulted. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $45.5m at January 1985 prices. If the proposal is favourably considered by the Committee and the House it will take some six months to complete the main contract documents and call tenders. Construction time is estimated at a little over two years.

I am pleased that my Department is associated with Telecom in this major building proposal. Honourable members may not be aware that the Department of Housing and Construction has had a long association with Telecom and has built up a valuable pool of expertise in the planning and construction of its various buildings and services. I am very pleased that the Hawke Labor Government has been able to place this very major construction work for Telecom upon its civil works program. I table plans of the proposed work and commend the motion to the House and to the Public Works Committee.