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Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Page: 3076

Mr COLEMAN (BanksAssistant Minister for Finance) (13:04): I move:

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to Parliament: Joint Health Command Garrison Facilities Upgrade Project.

As advised when this project was referred to the Public Works Committee on 7 December of last year, the Department of Defence is proposing to provide health facilities on Defence bases to meet its requirement of maintaining the health and wellbeing of Australian Defence Force personnel for operational preparedness. The 2016 defence white paper reinforced the importance of health care as a key military enabler. Defence proposes to upgrade existing Joint Health Command healthcare facilities at 13 locations around Australia. The Joint Health Command provides the Australian Defence Force with pre and post deployment and proactive health care for operational preparedness.

Existing health facilities have several issues affecting Joint Health Command's ability to deliver effective healthcare services, including ageing buildings, non-compliance with building codes and infection risks due to outdated facilities. A key objective of this project is to deliver facilities to support consistent and efficient health care across Defence. The project proposes to refurbish five existing health centres and construct eight new health centres, where it is not possible to refurbish or upgrade existing facilities. The project will generate employment opportunities in the construction sector in regional areas, including sites across most mainland states and territories.

The committee has conducted an inquiry and is of the view that the project is considered value for money for the Commonwealth and constitutes a project that is fit for purpose and expedient to carry out. On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the committee for, once again, undertaking a timely inquiry. Subject to parliamentary approval, construction is expected to commence in mid-2018 and be completed by mid-2020. I commend the motion to the House.

Question agreed to.