Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Budget 2006: Secrecy shrouds Bungendore JHQ project.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Senator Mark Bishop Shadow Minister for Defence Industry, Procurement and Personnel Senator for Western Australia


10th May 2006


Secrecy shrouds Bungendore JHQ project

Shadow Defence Minister for Industry, Procurement and Personnel, Senator Mark Bishop, says there has been a cover-up in costs of the construction of a joint operations command HQ in Bungendore.

Tuesday’s budget failed to publish any costs involving the project, originally slated to cost $318 million.

It is the first Private-Public Partnership to be entered into by the Department of Defence and the Government no doubt, will claim “commercial-in-confidence” as justification.

“That’s nonsense to deny Parliamentary scrutiny for this major outlay,” Senator Bishop says.

“In not giving any financial statements on this project, the Government has failed to meet the fundamental test of accountability and transparency.”

The controversy surrounding the construction of the HQ started in 2001, when the Government committed to building the facility at Bungendore, near Queanbeyan.

“Already there has been prevarication with the tenderers; the original trio of companies who placed tenders were recalled after costs blew-out, from the original $300 million budget,” Senator Bishop says.

So the project was downsized to fit the budget. New estimates would mean the facility would house just 750 personnel.

“Despite a five-year promise to build this HQ, the tender has still not been issued,” Senator Bishop said.

“This project has involved budget blow-outs which have led to a reduction in size of the project and a reduction in the number of staff being accommodated there. “Now we have a cover-up in costs that effectively removes the whole disaster from public scrutiny.

“We may not know the real costs for 35 years which is the term of the lease-back deal,” Senator Bishop says.