Thursday, 23 August 2018
Public Works Committee; Reference
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for consideration and report: LAND 4502 Phase 1 Additional CH-47F Chinook Facilities Project.
The Department of Defence is proposing to construct and refurbish shelters and supporting infrastructure for three additional CH-47F Chinook helicopters and also for the associated increase in staff that would be required up at the 5th Aviation Regiment at the RAAF base at Townsville, in Queensland. The 2016 Defence white paper noted the government's intention to increase the Australian Defence Force's airlift capability, and an important part of that was the acquisition of the helicopters.
The project is expected to generate significant short-term employment opportunities, and those opportunities will predominantly be in the building, construction and unskilled labour market in Townsville and surrounding locations. The expectation is that around 50 personnel will directly be employed. The project is also anticipated to provide potential economic benefits to the local region through the procurement of construction materials from local businesses engaged in that industry. The estimated cost of the project is $49.9 million, excluding GST, and this includes a wide range of different costs, including management and design fees and construction costs. There are also costs in relation to information and communications technology and a range of costs in relation to the furniture that will be associated with the project—fittings will be required as well various forms of equipment. As always with these projects, there is a provision for contingencies that may be required and a provision for an escalation in costs, should costs increase. The project is expected to commence shortly—in early 2019—and be completed in late 2020. It's a particularly important project because the provision of these additional helicopters and the associated staff is obviously something that will be particularly important for the Defence Force in that Townsville region. In the 2016 Defence white paper, we acknowledged the importance of improving the airlift capability. It is so important that our defence forces have the capability they require across land, across sea and across air, and the acquisition of these helicopters is an important part of that.
Also very noteworthy are the additional employment opportunities for the Townsville region. Of course, the military facilities in Townsville are one of the largest employers up in that part of the world. No doubt this project will be welcomed by people in Townsville and surrounds.
I again thank the Public Works Committee. They have an important role in assessing these projects. We do thank the Public Works Committee for their ongoing diligence in assessing these capital works proposals. I commend the motion to the House.
Question agreed to.