Page 2876 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015
Statement by Speaker
MADAM SPEAKER: For the information of members, I want to update the Assembly on the accommodation project for the expanding Assembly. Members will be aware that a number of options were considered in the process to find a solution to accommodating 25 members and staff in the Assembly building. In early 2015, the Chief Minister and I agreed that the most sensible and cost-effective option was for some of the support staff of the Office of the Legislative Assembly to relocate to nearby premises. This would free up areas for the necessary refitting to accommodate the increased number of Assembly members.
Cox Architecture was selected to develop the fit-out and interior design, and have worked closely with a project management team. The team comprises relevant OLA staff and suitably experienced project managers from the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate. I understand that all parties have been given briefings on proposed design processes and the construction program.
The Chief Minister and I also agreed that a project control group chaired by the Clerk of the Assembly was to meet regularly to review key milestones and play a key role in ensuring that the project comes in on time and on budget. This group comprises other senior project management staff involved in the project. My senior adviser and the Chief Minister’s chief of staff participate in the project control group as observers.
Earlier this year, after consideration of several options and negotiations with current occupants, it was agreed that OLA would relocate to level 1 of the North Building adjacent to London Circuit. For that to occur, some staff from the Justice and Community Safety Directorate will shortly relocate to premises in Moore Street, and the National Trust has recently moved to new premises in the Griffin Centre.
In May this year, expressions of interest were invited from the construction industry to undertake the fit-out works for both the North Building site and the Assembly building. From that process, a short-list of firms, all of them reputable quality firms, were invited to lodge a formal tender for the works. The tenders have been evaluated, and the territory is currently in the process of conducting pre-contact negotiations with the preferred tenderer. Once the contract is settled and executed, the name of the successful tenderer will be announced.
One of the early priorities will be to develop an agreed site management plan to enable the works to proceed with minimal disruption. I am advised that construction work is expected to start on the North Building in early September, with OLA moving to their new space in January 2016. Work will then start in the Assembly building, with a completion timetable of mid 2016.
I must warn members that while every attempt will be made to minimise the impact of construction work, there will inevitably be some disruption and inconvenience. As undertaken in my response to the recommendations of the estimates committee, I will keep members informed of the progress of this important project on at least a quarterly basis. The project will pave the way for the significant growth in Assembly membership that the Assembly agreed to adopt this time last year.