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Public works committee approves Defence HQ.



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Media contacts Catherine Fitzpatrick (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7800 0405 351 245

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Wednesday, 11 August 2004 160/2004

PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE APPROVES DEFENCE HQ

A proposal to build Defence’s new joint operational headquarters near Bungendore in New South Wales has been approved by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.

The works will cover the construction of facilities and infrastructure and the installation of the command, control, communications and information systems to provide a more responsive and flexible operational command and control capability for the Australian Defence Force.

The new $300 million headquarters will combine seven existing military headquarters and agencies currently situated in and around Sydney in a state-of-the-art facility.

“An independent Environmental Impact Statement on the new headquarters forecast a favourable economic impact of the headquarters,” Senator Hill said.

“Bungendore, Queanbeyan and ACT region can expect short-term economic benefits during construction period, and long-term benefits through the additional wages and salaries of the 1000 headquarters staff and increased requirements for goods and services at the headquarters during operations.”

The Headquarters Joint Operations Command project will be the first in which the Government will seek to privately finance the construction and maintenance of a major facility at a greenfield site. A two-stage tender process for the headquarters has begun, with companies asked in April to register interest in financing, constructing and maintaining the facility and providing ancillary services. A Request for Tender for the delivery of the facility will be issued soon, with the preferred tenderer to be appointed by early next year.

“When the facility is commissioned, Defence will lease the headquarters for a term of 30 years,” Senator Hill said.

“Although contract security staff will undertake the physical security requirements of the new headquarters, Defence will retain oversight and responsibility of security in much the same manner as at a number of other Defence establishments. Defence will also retain responsibility for the delivery of the command, control, communications and information systems.”

Senator Hill said private financing of the facility would provide the Government with some significant advantages throughout the term of the lease arrangement. The advantages include cost effective transfer of risk to the private sector, improvements to financial and risk management throughout the life of the lease period and reduced financial exposure because lease payments are not required until the facility is successfully commissioned.

Construction of the new facility is scheduled to start in the middle of next year. Preliminary engineering and design studies have been undertaken. It is expected the new headquarters will be fully operational in 2007-08.