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Defence Estate Quality Management System (DEQMS) BSI Certification


Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works (PWC)

What is the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works

Operating under the provisions of the Public Works Act 1969,  the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works (PWC) holds enquiries into Commonwealth funded public works that the Australian Parliament refers to the PWC. The PWC's investigation and subsequent report provides the basis for Parliamentary approval for projects to proceed (that it is 'expedient to proceed').

The PWC scrutinises Defences projects because they are funded by the Commonwealth. The PWC process is a key way for Parliament and the public (through their elected representatives) to scrutinise Defence projects to ensure the appropriate expenditure of public monies.

Director General Capital Facilities Infrastructure's Role

Director General Capital Facilities Infrastructure (DGCFI) is Defence's principal point of contact for all PWC matters and is the Defence lead witness at PWC enquiries. The Staff Officer to Director General Capital Facilities and Infrastructure (SO DGCFI) is responsible for coordination of PWC matters.

DGEP will schedule briefs by DGCFI on DEC Agenda as soon as practical after Parliamentary approval for each project. DGCFI's briefs will be minuted as part of normal DEC business processes. Parliamentary Works Committee Process including stakeholders.

Does your project need to be referred to the PWC?

As part of Defence's project development and approval process, major capital facilities projects expected to cost over $15 million (inclusive of GST) must be referred to the PWC.

Before your project can be referred to the PWC you must have project approval through (Cabinet/MINDEF or Two Minister MINDEF and MINFIN). Confirm that your project is a public work that and your project will need PWC referral. You must allow sufficient time for the referral process to be completed. Pre-planning for the PWC process should commence when the project's EIP is complete. The PWC process takes approximately six months, so you need to ensure that there is sufficient time in your project schedule for the PWC process to be completed.

If your project is a public work:

  • Works estimated to cost $15 million (including GST) or more are known as 'major works'. All Defence major works must be referred to the PWC before contracts can be awarded and works commence. Refer the project to the PWC

  • Works estimated to cost between $2 million and $15 million (including GST) are known as 'medium works'. All medium works must be notified to the PWC before a contract is let for the works. The PWC may decide to enquire into any medium works project and will advise if they require an enquiry to be held before the project proceeds. Notify the PWC. Medium Works Template and Guidance . Click here for a recent example.

  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects must be referred to the PWC as a 'major work' if they exceed the $15m threshold.  Refer the project to the PWC

  • Exempt from the PWC process. A project may be exempted from PWC consideration because the works are repetitive, or for defence purpose that scrutiny could be contrary to the public interest. Exemptions must not be sought in response to poor project planning (Seek advice from SO DGCFI)
NOTE: A project must be approved by the appropriate approving authority prior to referral to the PWC. In addition, projects being referred to the PWC must have Cost Agreement from the Department of Finance prior to referral proceeding for tabling in Parliament. Please contact Mrs Kylie Wright ID Finance 02 626 68239 who will assist with initial engagement and support through Cost Agreement process.

PWC Process Tasks

The PWC's Manual of Procedures for Departments and Agencies identifies six tasks in the PWC process:

Task 3 - Site Inspection

Task 4 - Public Hearing

Version Control
Version No: 4.4 | Last Updated: Nov 15 | Next Review: Aug 16
Technical Authority: DGCFI
Subject Matter Expert: EDCFI