Housing to be split from Works

16/12/2008 - 15:25

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The Department of Treasury and Finance is set to take on more responsibilities as the Department of Housing and Works joins the list of government agencies to be split.

The Department of Treasury and Finance is set to take on more responsibilities as the Department of Housing and Works joins the list of government agencies to be split.

Treasurer Troy Buswell said the DHW will be split into two service delivery areas, with Housing to remain a standalone department while Works will move to the DTF.

The Office of Strategic Projects, which overlooks complex, high-risk building and infrastructure projects including the Fiona Stanley Hospital and Perth Arena, will also be transferred to the DTF.

As a result of the increased responsibilities, a new DTF unit, to be known as Building Management and Works, will be established.

Mr Buswell said the new unit will not only focus on the delivery of new buildings but also look after the maintenance and minor works of public buildings and the leasing and fit-out of government offices.

"This separation of works and housing will begin a reform program, led by DTF that will focus on the delivery of the non-residential building works program such as schools, hospitals, courts, prisons and museums," Mr Buswell said.

"It will enable a consolidation of expertise into the one agency, between people working on infrastructure planning, budgeting, project management and procurement."

He said the formalities of the DHW split should be completed by the end of next month.

Mr Buswell did not mention how the DHW split will affect Grahame Searle, who was appointed director general of the department last month.

 

 

The announcement is pasted below:

 

 

Treasurer Troy Buswell has today announced a significant reform of the Government's Housing and Works operations for which he also has portfolio responsibility.

The major change is their separation into two distinct service delivery areas and the movement of the 'works' activities into the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), while Housing will remain a 'stand-alone' department.

These formalities should be completed by the end of January 2009.

Commenting on the transfer of Works to DTF, Mr Buswell said that in the current climate of economic uncertainty it was desirable to locate the project management, procurement and cost control of the Government's busy capital works program in the agency best placed to efficiently manage them.

He said a series of cost and time over-runs on high-profile building projects had focussed attention on the need for improved scoping and estimating at the concept planning stage, as well as stronger project management during the design and procurement stages.

"This separation of works and housing will begin a reform program, led by DTF that will focus on the delivery of the non-residential building works program such as schools, hospitals, courts, prisons and museums," the Treasurer said.

"It will enable a consolidation of expertise into the one agency, between people working on infrastructure planning, budgeting, project management and procurement."

The Office of Strategic Projects will also transfer to the Department of Treasury and Finance and retain oversight of complex, high-risk building and infrastructure projects such as the Fiona Stanley Hospital and Perth Arena.

The new DTF business unit, to be known as Building Management and Works, will not only focus on the delivery of new buildings, it will also look after the maintenance and minor works of public buildings and the leasing and fit-out of government offices.

It will also embody the Office of the Government Architect and take on a strengthened role in controlling building standards and practice, and building industry development.

The Government's housing construction and Aboriginal community infrastructure activities will remain with the Department of Housing.

"Last week, I announced a new direction for the Housing portfolio with a taskforce formed to investigate more innovative solutions to social housing issues, with particular attention to be given to the State's future role in a modern affordable housing system," Mr Buswell said.

"One of the great challenges for this Government is to excite a new policy environment around the provision of social housing and delivery of the services to go with it."

The Treasurer said the Government's housing and building works functions were merged in 2001, following a machinery of Government review but the expected efficiencies were never realised.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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