House debates

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Statement by the Speaker

Parliament House: Security

3:13 pm

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Members may recall that last Thursday I provided the House with an update on the installation of the electronic access control system to members' suites and indicated I would provide a further update to members this week on the status of the broader security upgrade works at Parliament House.

Since the 2014 review of security arrangements at Parliament House, the Department of Parliamentary Services has undertaken a large program of works aimed at improving the security of the building, including strengthening entry points, the building fabric and security infrastructure. A large amount of this work has been finished. Work on the perimeter fence is complete. Planting of the landscape barrier along the fences is now underway. The process of upgrading and installing new CCTV security cameras has now been completed. This project formed part of the overall electronic security upgrade works, which are expected to conclude in late November.

As I advised the House last Thursday, installation of the electronic access control system to members' suites has been completed. The system is now being progressively activated. Hardening of the windows in the House of Representatives wing was finished in August. Work on the Great Hall skylight is now finished, with all skylight upgrades expected to be complete in November. The canopy and scaffolding have been removed from the roof. Replacement of grass on the roof and the southern ramp is now underway.

Whilst there's been a great deal of progress, members should also be aware that a lot of work remains to be done. Work's continuing on the Senate and House of Representatives slip-road exit and entry gates. The gates won't be used until the necessary policies and procedures are in place. The new gates and turnstiles on each side will be finalised and commissioned once the new entry work is finished.

Construction work on the doors on level 1 between the public and private areas of the building is due to be completed during November. Window works to the front facade, including the gift shop, Queen's Terrace and Visitor Services, are scheduled to commence during November. Work on the second public entrance is expected to be completed in this financial year. Installation of the ceremonial doors at the front of the building is due to conclude by the end of April next year.

However, I do have to say that work on the House of Representatives and Senate entrances is the subject of some major delays, which are beyond our control. A revised schedule is being developed by the contractor to ensure these works are concluded as soon as possible. In the meantime, the temporary entrances will remain in place until early 2019 at the very earliest—let me stress: at the very earliest. This is complex and time-consuming work. I'm mindful of the inconvenience it has caused to members and the staff, but, as you know, the current program of building improvements is critical.

The patience and goodwill of members and their staff have been appreciated during the undertaking of these challenging but important works. I thank the House.