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Tuesday, 29 March 2022
Page: 1149

Mr RICK WILSON (O'Connor) (17:02): On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I present the following reports: report 2, 2022, Referrals made December 2021, and report 3, 2022, Referral made February 2022.

Reports made parliamentary papers in accordance with standing order 39(e).

Mr RICK WILSON: by leave—On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I present the committee's second and third reports for 2022. Report 2 of 2022 considers two proposals referred to the committee in December 2021. The first project is the Services Australia fit-out of the new leased premises at 120 Bathurst Street, Hobart, with an estimated cost of $32.86 million, excluding GST. The project aims to consolidate Services Australia office accommodation in Hobart, down from three sites into one fit-for-purpose office at 120 Bathurst Street. The consolidation will reduce the agency's net lettable area by 6.4 per cent, accommodating 1,307 back-of-house corporate agency staff across nine floors of the building. The agency hopes that the co-location of staff will increase staff collaboration. Importantly, the project will not impact customer-facing services and will not reduce agency jobs in Hobart.

The second project is the Australian tax office's proposed fit-out of new leased premises at 255 George Street, Sydney. The project has an estimated cost of $46.32 million, excluding GST. Currently, the ATO leases three sites in the Sydney area. This project aims to relocate staff currently located at its Goulburn Street office to a new leased premises at 255 George Street. The relocation will allow the ATO to achieve a reduction in its net lettable area of almost 10,000 square metres or 42.6 per cent compared to the existing leases.

This inquiry highlighted some concerns with the processes and criteria used by the ATO to select the 255 George Street site for works. In particular, it was not clear to the committee why the George Street site was selected over other sites considered. As lease negotiations fall outside the committee's remit, the committee has recommended that the Australian National Audit Office consider investigating the process used by the ATO to select 255 George Street as its preferred site.

Report 3 of 2022 considers one proposal referred to the committee on 22 February. The project is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 's environmental remediation of Douglas Shoal, which is located north-east of Gladstone within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In April 2010, the ship Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Douglas Shoal after leaving the port of Gladstone. The vessel remained aground and moved across more than 40 hectares of the Douglas Shoal over 10 days prior to being refloated. During this period, the ship left behind approximately 20 tonnes of toxic antifouling paint and rubble.

This project aims to remediate approximately 10 hectares of priority area within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by removing the toxic antifouling paint and rubble, which are currently inhibiting the natural recovery of the Douglas Shoal area. The proposed works are one of the most ambitious and large-scale coral reef clean-ups ever undertaken globally and there are no known precedents for such remediation. The project has an estimated cost of $19.4 million excluding GST, which will be funded from the $35 million out-of-court settlement paid by the shipowners and insurers to the Commonwealth in 2016.

I would like to thank Services Australia, the Australian Tax Office and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for their comprehensive presentations.

Although the committee was unable to inspect proposed works in person, all entities provided sufficient detail in their presentations and briefings to ensure the committee was able to appreciate the importance and scope of works. In considering the project's examination of reports 2 and 3 of 2022, the committee has recommended that it is expedient that all works be carried out.

Finally, I take this opportunity to thank the secretariat for the enormous amount of work they have done over the period of this parliament. I particularly want to mention Klara Fay, who has been with this committee for the entire three years of the parliament and who not only does an amazing amount of diligent work but is always in good humour and good fun to work with. To the committee members, the Public Works Committee is a very time-demanding committee and I particularly want to thank the deputy chair, Mr Tony Zappia, the member for Makin, who has been a wonderful support and a very cooperative person to work with.

I now commend this report to the House.