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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1954

Mr WEST (Minister for Housing and Construction)(12.15) —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: Upgrading of the Jindalee facilities at Alice Springs.

The proposed work is part of a further development of the Jindalee over-the-horizon radar facility. A test bed will be established to facilitate a network of radar systems for long range air and sea surveillance. Existing facilities for the Jindalee radar are dispersed at remote locations in the Northern Territory. The transmitter site is about 160 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, in the Harts Range area. The receiver site is closer to Alice Springs, about 45 kilometres to the north-west in the area of Mount Everard. There is also a beacon located at HMAS Coonawara in Darwin which provides reference information for the radar system. The existing facilities are not adequate in terms of standards and size for the increase in activities required for further development of the radar system.

The proposed work at the Mount Everard receiver site involves alterations to existing buildings to accommodate additional personnel and equipment. Work will also provide an administration and amenities complex, a general engineering workshop, guard house, carports for defence vehicles, an electronic security surveillance system and a power supply connection. Existing engineering services will be upgraded, and landscaping will be provided.

At the Harts Range transmitter site, the transmitter control building is to be altered and two transportable buildings are to be refurbished for use by transient personnel. Two new transportables are to be provided for use as kitchen and dining facilities. Other new facilities to be constructed at the Harts Range site include a workshop, store and five four-bedroomed houses. Civil works will be undertaken to enable extension of the antenna. As with the other site, engineering services will be upgraded and landscaping provided. Nine houses and four townhouses are to be constructed in Alice Springs to provide accommodation for defence personnel commuting to the receiver facility.

The beacon at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin, which provides reference information for the radar system, is to have its power supply upgraded and is to be modified to improve cyclone resistance. The estimated cost of this proposal is $8.2m at February 1987 prices. Design work for the project was undertaken by my Department with some contract support. Construction will be done by private enterprise in accordance with normal practice. Subject to parliamentary approval, it is intended to call for tenders in August and for construction to commence later this year. The project should be completed by mid-1989. I table the plans of this proposed work and I commend the motion to the House.