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Thursday, 26 May 1983
Page: 1095

Mr BRUMBY(11.14) —I support the motion moved by the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Hurford) to refer this proposal to the Public Works Committee. Honourable members will be aware that the Puckapunyal Army base to which the work refers is Australia's major armoured and transport corps and an important base. The Minister has indicated that it is proposed that the already high standard of defence training maintained by the base is further enhanced by the provision of environmental controls to the main constructional block at the School of Transport and Catering. Comprehensive air conditioning is to be installed and all windows will be double glazed.

These improvements are very long awaited and are much needed, particularly in the warm and humid conditions of the catering school. Temperatures climb to well over 42 degrees celsius in that massive three-storey concrete building in the summer months. During last summer, when I visited Puckapunyal Army base, instruction was commenced at 5 o'clock every morning and concluded at 11 o'clock to avoid the excessive heat felt in the building by early afternoon. Obviously the proposed works are also vital to improve training conditions at the base. The project is also a major capital undertaking, estimated to cost almost $2.2m. The labour intensive nature of much of the work, particularly the double glazing , will require a considerable number of site workers of both skilled and unskilled categories. All in all it is an extremely worthwhile and much needed project.

These proposed works are a very welcome follow on for major capital works announced at the base only one month ago by the Minister for Defence (Mr Scholes ). In what is in anyone's terms a massive boost to defence construction works, more than $14m was allocated for comprehensive redevelopment of the armoured centre at the Puckapunyal base. That $14m for the redevelopment project will provide direct and indirect employment for more than 500 people, including a peak on-site work force of 175 during the first half of 1984. It is expected that that project will be completed by 1985 and, in conjunction with the proposal put tonight by the Minister for Housing and Construction, should ensure a very substantial improvement in overall facilities at the Army base. I have a lot to do with the Army base. I am a regular visitor at Puckapunyal. As I said, I had a good look last summer at the appalling conditions in the catering and transport school. This is a very much needed proposal. If I can offer any assistance at all to the Public Works Committee I shall do so to ensure that consideration and report is completed with the maximum of urgency.

Question resolved in the affirmative.