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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6533

Mr TANNER (Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (11:10 AM) —I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, and by reason of the urgent nature of the work, it is expedient that the following work be carried out without having been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works: Infrastructure and upgrade works on identified immigration detention facilities.

On 18 April 2010 the government announced that a significant number of irregular maritime arrivals would be transferred from the Christmas Island detention centre to the Australian mainland. As a result of this announcement, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship has identified that various infrastructure and upgrade works are required in order for the facilities to meet detention standards. These sites include RAAF Base Curtin in Western Australia, which will accommodate single males, Northern Immigration Detention Centre Darwin, which requires upgrade and expansion works to increase the current amenities available to clients accommodated within the centre, and Christmas Island, which will undergo further works, including a security system upgrade, client amenity upgrades and additional staff accommodation.

The estimated outturn cost of the proposal is $190.29 million plus GST and is inclusive of capital and operational expenditure. Subject to parliamentary approval, construction will commence immediately and be completed by May 2011.

I note that a proposal to proceed with a construction project without referral to the Public Works Committee is not common. The government very much supports the work of the Public Works Committee and has not taken this decision lightly. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.