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Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Page: 9425


Senator O'NEILL (New South Wales) (15:41): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the importance of jobs on the Central Coast, and the vital role that governments can play in delivering those opportunities, stimulating the local economy, and stimulating quality infrastructure that benefits business, workers, and the broader community,

(ii) the broad community opposition to the Federal Government's announced intention to build a Commonwealth government building on prime waterfront land already earmarked for other projects, including a Regional Performing Arts Centre,

(iii) the Federal Government's decision to do a deal with the New South Wales Government wherein the New South Wales Department of Education will sell off at least one-third of the site of the now demolished Gosford Public School, thus breaking with community expectations,

(iv) the lack of clarity around the cost of the land, and how developers and/or the owners of the site will recoup lost income from only constructing a four-storey building on a site zoned for up to 16 storeys,

(v) the serious concerns around the tender process wherein some applicants appeared to be given additional information about the proposal, creating unfair advantages, and

(vi) the lack of transparency with which this site was chosen, with no community consultation, local tenderers overlooked, and other potential sites ignored; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) abandon its decision to locate its new building on the Gosford Waterfront, and for a new location to be determined,

(ii) immediately halt all proceedings in regard to the proposed Gosford Australian Taxation Office development on the Old Gosford Public School site,

(iii) broadly consult with the community in their planning for any infrastructure investment on the Central Coast,

(iv) apply procurement principles that advantage local developers and builders for the project to ensure better local job opportunities, and

(v) honour its commitment to provide $10 million to match equal funds from the local council and the New South Wales State Government to advance a centre for performing arts on the Gosford Waterfront as an integrated iconic element of the revitalisation of the Old Gosford Public School site.