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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2504

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Housing) - I move:

That in accordance wilh the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972 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:

Construction of Wellington Telephone Exchange, Perth, Western Australia.

The proposal is a 17-storey reinforced in situ concrete construction, fully air conditioned with multiple air handling and refrigeration plants to suit the specialist PostmasterGeneral's equipment to be installed. Emergency generating plant is included, and special attention has been paid to the decor of the manual assistance centres, where murals and curtaining will be provided to create a pleasant working environment.

The estimated cost of the proposed work is Si 1.3m. The Committee concluded that there was a need for the proposed building at Wellington Street, Perth, and recommended its construction. The Committee also recommended that guidelines for preparation of environmental impact statements be laid down as soon as possible and that the planning arrangements of the Post Office be examined with the aim of effecting changes in policy or overcoming shortcomings in procedures and resources to avoid late referrals of proposals in the future.

An interdepartmental committee is examining the policy directives necessary to lay down guidelines for the preparation of environmental impact statements and has set up 3 working parties to assist in its determinations. The interdepartmental committee has a target of recommending to the Government guidelines for preparation and presentation of the environmental impact statements in time for amendments of legislation as necessary to be processed during the Budget session of this Parliament. The Postmaster-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) has advised that there have been staffing problems within the Australian Post Office but that the matter is currently under consideration. Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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