Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 August 2011) . . Page.. 3785 ..
provide safe and professional workplaces for the staff who serve our community. We are committed to providing more efficient services to the community, to meet our responsibility to our greenhouse gas reduction targets and more broadly to the environment, and to deliver the most financially responsible option for the budget and, indeed, for Canberra taxpayers. The amendment that Ms Hunter proposes is largely in support of these principles.
Ms Hunter’s amendment calls on the government to ensure a number of things. It seeks to ensure that feasibility studies and market testing include an examination of both adaptive reuse of existing buildings and consideration of an office precinct as opposed to a single building. It seeks to ensure that the whole-of-life analysis of the environmental impact is considered. As I have previously explained in this place, a range of options were analysed and evaluated in determining a way forward. This included the adaptive reuse of buildings. It included the whole-of-life analysis, as with any project that the government pursues.
The advice provided to government is that a new building is the best option, both environmentally and economically, but we are testing this in the market. We will welcome any proposal from industry that demonstrates that an adaptive reuse of existing buildings or an office precinct can provide a better environmental and economic option. As I have stated, the government will make a final decision down the track based on the best overall value to the ACT taxpayer.
How do we determine best value? We look at a number of factors—the build cost, environmental performance, occupational health and safety, running costs and efficiencies to be gained by having key public servants in the same location.
Ms Hunter’s amendment also calls on the government to finalise the government accommodation strategy, and I note Mr Smyth had plenty to say there. There is no doubt that the accommodation strategy is rightly influenced by the government’s decision to locate new facilities in Gungahlin and in Civic. But as Mr Smyth identified in doing some calculations on the run, of course, the overwhelming majority of ACT public servants will be located outside of Gungahlin and Civic in various workplaces that are dispersed throughout the city for obvious reasons of local service provision.
It is probably just worth putting on the record, because I do not think it is particularly well known, that there is a significant number of education department staff who work at the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Weston Creek in Stirling. In fact the numbers of people working there will continue to grow as a number of services to schools are co-located within the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
What we are seeing, of course, is a desire to consolidate a number of functions closer to the Assembly. This has an impact on what would have been our previous requirements for refits, refurbishments and relocations. We are currently revising the strategy in line with those policy outcomes and those policy preferences, and it will be finalised by the end of this year.
I have circulated an amendment to Ms Hunter’s amendment that states that the government’s immediate priority is the delivery of the Gungahlin office