Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (12:16): On behalf of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, I present the committee's report entitled Referrals made June 2017 (7th report of 2017).
Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).
By leave—The first project is the Australian War Memorial's Large Technology Objects Store Project. This project will increase the storage capacity required by the War Memorial to accommodate a number of expected future acquisitions such as an F/A-18 Hornet and a Seahawk helicopter. These assets are coming out of Afghanistan and what most people may not know is that the stuff we have on display at the War Memorial is only 20 per cent of the stuff that we have. It's important for the nation that we keep that stored, which looks after the integrity of those products. We do that out here at Mitchell. Construction of the proposed work is to take place in Canberra, where the War Memorial's existing storage facilities are located. The project cost estimate is $16.1 million.
The second project is the IP Australia Accommodation Project. This project will take place at Discovery House in the Canberra suburb of Woden. Its scope includes a rolling program of flexible improvement of office accommodation, the relocation of the existing cafe, the fit-out of a new childcare centre, the relocation of existing conference rooms and hearing facilities. The project cost estimate is $39.7 million.
The third project is the JP2008 Phase 5B2 Wideband Satellite Capability Project proposed by the Department of Defence. The project will construct facilities to support newly acquired satellite communications equipment and will support Australian Defence Force operations. The works will take place at Kapooka Military Area, near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. The project cost estimate is $33.9 million.
The fourth project is the Explosive Ordnance Logistics Reform Program, also proposed by the Department of Defence. The works will take place in 12 explosive-ordnance depots around Australia and will include the construction of a range of storage, processing and administration facilities for all types of explosive ordnance, from small arms ammunition to high explosives. Once completed, the project will deliver increased storage and handling capacity in the ADF's explosive-ordnance logistics network. The project cost estimate is $230.9 million.
The fifth project is the redevelopment of HMAS Cerberus in Hastings, Victoria. Cerberus is the largest naval training facility in Australia and the single point of entry for sailors joining the Royal Australian Navy. The works will address a range of facility and infrastructure shortcomings including electrical, water supply, sewerage, and building refurbishment. The works include a new survival-at-sea training facility, including an indoor training pool which can simulate a range of realistic sea and weather conditions, and the ADF physical training school. Construction will commence in late 2017 and will take five years to complete, at a total cost of $463.1 million. The committee recommends that the five proposed projects should proceed.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of the secretariat and how they go about their business. Pauline Cullen and James Bunce from the secretariat are present in the gallery. Can I acknowledge the work they do in this space, in particular the odd times of the day and night that I contact both of them for comprehensive briefings. Their efforts should not go unmentioned, and I acknowledge their contribution.
I would like to acknowledge the effectiveness of the committee. I know that when most Australians see the parliament they do so through the prism of question time, from two o'clock to 20 past three, and think this place conducts itself no differently from an average classroom. I will throw a congratulatory comment to each of the committee members that I am privileged to serve with as chairman. Tony Zappia, the deputy chair, is a former mayor and very conciliatory. David Coleman has incredible skills and knows his way around a balance sheet. Then there are your contributions, Mr Deputy Speaker Goodenough. As a former developer, you understand the cost matrix. Justine Keay brings a balanced head, and whenever she speaks we all listen. Joanne Ryan was previously in the education department and is no stranger to cost matrixes. From the other place, we have Senator Alex Gallacher, the longest serving member on the committee, along with Senator Dean Smith, a former chair of this committee, and Senator John Williams. I acknowledge the member for McPherson, now a minister, who vacated the chair more recently for me to take on the role.
There were two or three proposals of works put up by Defence, and it would be remiss not to acknowledge the work by Brigadier Noel Beutel, who recently announced his retirement on 6 October. Brigadier Beutel was across his brief. It didn't matter what the committee threw at him in trying to understand cost; he knew exactly where every cent was buried. In contrast, if he didn't, he made it his business to get the committee the answers that we needed.
We have saved, I hope, in the vicinity of tens of millions of dollars by rescrutinising and reprioritising grant proposals. Since September 2016, the committee has presented seven reports to the parliament, with 23 separate inquiries. The committee has appreciated the efforts of the secretariat and committee members. I commend the report to the House.