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Thursday, 28 August 1980
Page: 967

Mr LLOYD (Murray) - The approval of this proposal in accordance with section 5 of the Parliament Act 1974 means several significant things for this Parliament. Firstly, it means that Capital Hill is the site for the new and permanent parliament house. It has always been said that parliament house is to be built on Capital Hill. When one looks at the design one could say that to a certain extent it is to be built into Capital Hill. Nevertheless Capital Hill is the site. Secondly, we are committed to the design. Thirdly, we have a responsibility, as parliamentarians, to support the financial appropriations that will be necessary to carry this proposed building through to its completion by 1988.

There will be a temptation in the years ahead for politicians; perhaps for short term political gain or popularity, to oppose or to question these appropriations.

I acknowledge the point made by the previous speaker, the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) that what costs $220m in May 1978 prices will obviously be at least $500m by the time the building is completed. Therefore, there will be these pressures upon Parliament. I hope that all parliamentarians live up to their responsibilities for the future of the Parliament as a national symbol for Australia by not giving in to short term political gain.

It is unfortunate that so soon after the design competition the estimate of $156m for construction has been re-estimated at $220m. But if an honest revaluation is 'needed, the sooner it is done, the better. Several points should be made in regard to this new valuation. Firstly, the space is larger than the Joint Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House was required to work with. The Committee considered that the space it was forced to work with was less than appropriate. I think that the architect has vindicated as well as indicated, by his design, the provision for better public space and the ability for future expansion which may be necessary without the requirement to increase facilities in some core areas which would be difficult and very costly. Also allowance has been made for underground parking. Underground parking could be said to be expensive but, if it is considered within the concept of the design on Capital Hill, it Will be found that it is the sensible form of parking*.0

The initial cost estimates were necessarily hurried and limited because of lack of time and contact between the cost assessors and the architect. What I think is the important point in this question of the higher valuation or assessment of cost is that of the five final designs my advice is - I think it has been stated publicly - that the successful design was the lowest estimated cost. If we look generally at the movement in assessed costs as at May 1978 prices from $156m to $220m, it will be seen that this was the lowest cost of the five final designs.

I believe that the design is brilliant. More than anything else it will carry the proposal for the new parliament house to the public and through perhaps some difficult times in this Parliament until its completion in 1988. The design is functional; it is aesthetically pleasing; and it provides simple construction. Most importantly, I think it becomes part of the hill rather than a monument on top of it. I believe that position for the Federal Parliament in Australia is more appropriate for the Australians' view of Parliament and parliamentarians. I support the approval of the proposal.

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