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Thursday, 17 February 2000
Page: 13730

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (10:08 AM) —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: CSIRO/University of Queensland Joint Building Project, St Lucia, Queensland.

CSIRO has entered into a joint venture agreement with the University of Queensland to provide a major new research facility on the site of the existing CSIRO Cunningham Laboratory at St Lucia in Queensland. The complex will accommodate the University of Queensland's new Institute of Molecular Bioscience and staff of the CSIRO's Divisions of Tropical Agriculture, Health Sciences and Nutrition, and Plant Industry. The new complex will provide research accommodation for approximately 285 CSIRO staff and visitors, together with accommodation for Institute of Molecular Bioscience researchers, students and visitors.

It will comprise a new laboratory complex with a total gross floor area of approximately 36,000 square metres with the following components: CSIRO biology laboratories; University of Queensland biology laboratories; shared chemistry laboratories; CSIRO computer laboratories; University of Queensland computer laboratories; CSIRO specialist laboratories including analytical chemistry, greenhouse and herbarium; University of Queensland specialist laboratories including structural biology, synthetic chemistry and vivarium; and shared facility support areas including library, conference facilities, information technology support, administrative support, central wash-up, workshops, and delivery, waste and stores areas. Associated site works include an independent structured car park, with capacity for 220 cars, together with service infrastructure upgrades, roadworks and landscaping.

Construction of the complex will enable CSIRO and the Institute of Molecular Bioscience to bring together in one structure a large and critical mass of molecular biology skills, equipment and facilities. It will also bring together a range of supportive and complementary activities, such as synthetic, inorganic and organic chemistry, biometrics, bioinformatics and microscopy. Co-location of CSIRO and the Institute of Molecular Bioscience on the St Lucia site will provide opportunities for highly valuable interaction with the wider University of Queensland faculties. The Institute of Molecular Bioscience will add a further positive dimension to the capability of each of the CSIRO groups housed within the complex to fulfil their charters to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to Australia.

The proposal has a budget of $106 million, of which the CSIRO component is $50 million. Subject to parliamentary approval, initial site clearance works are anticipated to commence in March 2000, with completion of the works scheduled for 2002. In its report the committee has recommended that this project proceed, and CSIRO agrees with the recommendations of the committee. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the committee for its support. I commend the motion to the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.