WA govt separates Housing and Works after cost, time blowouts

The changes will see the Works activities, including high-risk building and infrastructure projects such as the Fiona Stanley Hospital and the Perth Arena, moved into the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), while Housing will remain a “stand-alone” department.The government expects the changes to be completed by the end of January 2009.The Office of Strategic Projects will also transfer to the DTF.The new DTF business unit, to be known as Building Management and Works, will not only focus on the delivery of new buildings, but 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.State Treasurer Troy 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.“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.”Buswell said the government’s housing and building works functions were merged in 2001, following a government review but the expected efficiencies were never realised.

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