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Monday, 3 December 2018
Page: 12196

Dr McVEIGH (Groom) (12:55): On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works I present the committee's report entitled 4/2018: Referrals made August and September 2018.

Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).

Dr McVEIGH: by leave—On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works I present the committee's fourth report for 2018.

The report considers four proposals referred to the committee in August and one referred in September.

The first project is the CSIRO Myall Vale new cotton breeding research facilities project. CSIRO has operated a cotton research facility at Myall Vale near Narrabri in New South Wales since the 1970s. As one who worked in the cotton industry prior to coming to this place, I can attest to the fact that these facilities support the conduct of cutting-edge research in support of Australia's cotton industry. If this is to continue, the research and laboratory facilities there need to be upgraded and modernised.

The estimated cost of the project is $17.9 million, excluding GST.

The second proposal is the Land 200 Tranche 2 Battlefield Communications Systems Facilities Project proposed by the Department of Defence. This project will construct training facilities at seven locations around Australia in support of the introduction of a new battlefield communications system. This new communications system will provide to the Australian Army modern information technology that links sensors, weapons systems, commanders and their personnel, and these facilities will help to ensure that Australian Defence Force personnel are effectively trained in its use.

The estimated cost of this project is $24.3 million, excluding GST.

The third proposal is the Naval Guided Weapons Maintenance Facilities Project, at Defence Establishment Orchard Hills in the western suburbs of Sydney. This project will construct an integrated weapons facility that will provide the Department of Defence with fit-for-purpose facilities to conduct necessary maintenance on its naval guided weapons. These weapons have evolved significantly since the commissioning of the existing surface weapons complex at Orchard Hills, and the current and future maintenance needs of these weapons has exceeded capacity.

The estimated cost of this project is $95.5 million, excluding GST.

The fourth proposal is the Land 4502 Phase 1 Additional CH-47F Chinook Facilities Project at RAAF Base Townsville, also for the Department of Defence. This project is necessary following the acquisition of three additional Chinook helicopters, which the 5th Aviation Regiment does not have the facilities currently to effectively support. The project will deliver hangars and support facilities, which are vital to maintaining the Chinooks in Townsville's salt-laden tropical environment. I thank the Department of Defence representatives for hosting the committee's site inspection in this regard.

The estimated cost of this project is $49.9 million, excluding GST.

The final proposal is the Defence High Performance Computing Centre project at Edinburgh Defence Precinct in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. This project will deliver a fit-for-purpose data centre to house a supercomputer for the Defence Science and Technology Group. This facility will support the cutting-edge research conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Group in support of its mission to enhance Australia's defence and national security by mitigating strategic and operational risk and maintaining a capability edge.

The estimated cost of this project is $68.8 million, excluding GST.

The committee found merit in all of these projects, and has recommended that the House find it expedient that they proceed.

I'd like to take the opportunity of my first statement to the parliament as Chair of the Public Works Committee to thank my predecessor, the honourable member for Wright. His efforts as chair have obviously greatly assisted in ensuring that public money being spent on construction works is spent effectively and efficiently, and I wish him all the best in his new role as Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport.

I would also like to thank my fellow committee members for their service. It has been an honour to join this committee and to work alongside the deputy chair, the honourable member for Makin. This committee operates in a very bipartisan manner, with members from both sides taking a cooperative and collegiate approach to scrutinising the expenditure of taxpayers' money. Their experience and knowledge has been vital to the operation of the committee, and parliamentary oversight of the Commonwealth government construction works is greatly enhanced by the diligence of my fellow committee members. I look forward to continuing to work with them to improve our work, to improve our effectiveness, as a committee of this parliament.

I commend the report to the House.