The Australian War Memorial (AWM) seeks approval from the Committee to proceed with the Treloar E Large Technology Objects Store Project in Mitchell, Australian Capital Territory.
The estimated cost of the project is $16.1 million (excluding GST).
The project was referred to the Committee on 22 June 2017.
Conduct of the inquiry
Following referral, the inquiry was publicised on the Committee’s website and via media release.
The Committee received one submission and one confidential submission. A list of submissions can be found at Appendix A.
On 15 September 2017, the Committee conducted a public and in-camera hearing. A transcript of the public hearing is available on the Committee’s website.
Need for the works
In its submission, AWM outlined the role of the Treloar Resource Centre:
It is the AWM’s conservation facility and store for large objects of military technology, including aircraft, vehicles, boats, missiles and guns. Items of special significance include a Japanese Ha-Go tank captured at the Battle of Milne Bay, a RAAF Caribou and Iroquois helicopter used in Vietnam, and an Army Bushmaster vehicle damaged by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. The facility also includes workshops that are used for large scale conservation projects.
According to AWM, the continual acquisition of historical material and the resultant need for storage capacity necessitated the development of a long-term strategy to ensure sufficient storage capacity is available. AWM stated:
The AWM commissioned the development of the Mitchell Precinct Development Plan, which involved the mapping of the historical patterns of collections growth against the available storage capacity. The plan was based on two decades of research and monitoring, and established the design principles for future storage at Mitchell. By extrapolating historical data and considering known and likely collections that will become available in the coming years, the Mitchell Precinct Development Plan estimates an increase of 4,000 square metres of storage per decade will be required to house the collections.
Further, AWM told the Committee that there was a need for increased storage capacity at the Mitchell facility now:
There are collections being stored in sub-standard conditions and there is a significant planned handover of objects from the Department of Defence which will create immediate pressure for expansion of the Memorial’s storage capacity. Some large technology items are stored in inadequate sheds. […] Based on the current deficit of capacity and the known need for the additional capacity in the near future it is essential that a new facility is constructed as soon as possible.
AWM noted that there is currently a storage deficit of 1,807 square metres. Additionally, AWM stated that there are a number of large technology objects of historical significance that are to be handed over in the next two years, including:
FA18 Classic Hornet fighter-bomber;
AS350 Squirrel helicopter;
S-70B Seahawk helicopter;
Up-armoured Mack Heavy Recovery Vehicle; and
In order to address this deficit in storage capacity, AWM developed the Treloar E Large Technology Objects Store Project (the Project):
The Project involves the construction of a single level storage facility on the Commonwealth owned Treloar E site for approximately 5,288 square metres of total floorspace for the storage of… primarily military aircraft and large military equipment such as infantry mobility vehicles handed over from the Department of Defence as the equipment is retired from service.
At the public hearing, AWM stated that the proposed facility will not only address the current storage deficit, but will also leave a residual storage capacity of 3,433 square metres, which would give the AWM ‘a forward storage capacity of around 8.6 years.’
The Committee is satisfied that the need for the work exists.
Scope of the works
In its submission, AWM stated that:
The building will be developed to enable all items to be stored on one level. The structure will be cost effective with a type of construction similar to the existing storage facilities.
AWM told the Committee that the proposed facility ‘has been designed to provide level access’ between the existing Treloar B storage facility and the proposed new facility. According to AWM, ‘the matching of levels will significantly improve the management of collections over time.’
AWM outlined the structure of the proposed new facility:
Based on the geotechnical report it is anticipated that the single level structure will have a concrete slab that is founded on rock. Steel universal columns will provide the main structure that supports a clear span steel truss that will be approximately two metres deep. The end walls will have universal beams at eight metre centres to support the walls. There will need to be a perimeter retaining wall or batter to the Flemington road side of the building to retain the earth that varies in depth along this boundary.
At the public hearing, AWM provided further detail on the construction of the building:
The Treloar E key space and system matrix has a total floor space of 5,240 square metres. The entry roller-door size is 12 metres wide, to cater for those very wide aircraft like the Dakota and the Caribou, and eight metres high. The floor-to-ceiling height, or the trusses, is eight metres for most of the building but for a couple of bays in the unloading [area] it is 11 metres high. The mechanical system to control the environment will be variable air volume and a lighting system that will rely on 240 watt LED high bay lights will be evenly spread to provide an even lighting throughout the storage facility. We intend to install a rooftop solar system, which will give us a 100 kilowatt capacity to augment the electrical supply to the building.
Cost of the works
The total estimated cost of the project is $16.1 million (excluding GST). It includes the cost of construction, contingencies, cost escalation and professional fees.
The Committee received a confidential supplementary submission detailing the project costs and held an in-camera hearing with AWM on the project costs.
The Committee is satisfied that the costings for the project provided to it have been adequately assessed by the proponent entity.
The Committee did not identify any issues of concern with the proposal and is satisfied that the project has merit in terms of need, scope and cost.
Having regard to its role and responsibilities contained in the Public Works Committee Act 1969, the Committee is of the view that this project signifies value for money for the Commonwealth and constitutes a project which is fit for purpose, having regard to the established need.
The Committee recommends that the House of Representatives resolve, pursuant to Section 18(7) of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, that it is expedient to carry out the following proposed works: Australian War Memorial Treloar E Large Technology Objects Store Project, Mitchell, Australian Capital Territory.
Proponent entities must notify the Committee of any changes to the project scope, time, cost, function or design. The Committee also requires that a post-implementation report be provided within three months of the project completion. A report template can be found on the Committee’s website.