Page 4015 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 20 September 2011

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office accommodation can make a key contribution to the successful achievement of government objectives and the delivery of government services to the community; and the fact that government office accommodation provides a functional, safe and accessible workplace for employees. The committee’s resolution was made secondly on the basis of the audit findings and thirdly on the basis that any lessons arising from the inquiry may provide useful input for consideration by the government as part of its proposal to consider a whole-of-government office accommodation building project.

The committee’s inquiry frame, whilst allowing for examining the findings of the audit report, is forward looking and is focused on best practice planning, acquisition, management, delivery and utilisation of government office accommodation.

The committee tabled an interim report on 15 February this year, as it believed its position with regard to the new government office accommodation building proposal should be brought to the attention of the ACT Legislative Assembly. The committee’s interim report made specific comment and three recommendations in relation to the proposal to construct a purpose-built government office building as the government’s preferred accommodation option. This included comment on the decision-making process in the context of the Canberra property market; reuse of existing office accommodation buildings versus new construction; opportunity cost of using resources for the construction of a purpose-built government office building, as measured against other projects that may be deferred; and development of the whole-of-government office accommodation strategy. In its response to the committee’s interim report, the government indicated that it did not agree to each of the committee’s three recommendations.

Since the committee tabled its interim report, the government has announced that it will market test the delivery of new government office accommodation projects for Gungahlin and Civic. The government has also indicated that the delivery of the Gungahlin office accommodation project will be the immediate priority.

Furthermore, the committee notes that the Assembly passed a motion concerning the government office block project on 23 August 2011, noting a number of pertinent matters relating to government office accommodation generally and the delivery of the Gungahlin and Civic office accommodation projects, and also called on the government, amongst other things, to “finalise the government office accommodation strategy”.

In its interim report, the committee recommended that the ACT government whole-of-government office accommodation strategy should be finalised, and considered by the ACT Legislative Assembly, prior to any final decision, or awarding of any contract, with regard to the whole-of-government office accommodation project. The government did not agree with the recommendation, stating: “The future office accommodation strategy is now influenced by the government’s decision to proceed with the new ACT government office building. The new government office will see significant consolidation of current office accommodation and changes to planned office refits/refurbishments. The office accommodation strategy will now be revised in line with this decision.”

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