27 March 2023

Construction of National Security Office Precinct awarded to Lendlease

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Barton Google earth

Satellite imagery of the York Park site for the new National Security office precinct (black) and the John Gorton Campus car park (yellow). Image: Google Earth screenshot.

Lendlease has been awarded a contract to build the new National Security Office Precinct in Barton, adjacent to the York Park Oak Plantation on the corner of State Circle and Brisbane Ave.

Finance Minister Senator Katy Gallagher made the announcement today (27 March). Construction will begin in early 2025.

It says the new Precinct will provide a permanent solution to the critical accommodation and capability requirements of several national security and other Commonwealth agencies, will accommodate up to 5000 workers, and will also include hospitality and retail amenities for the workers and the public.

READ ALSO Federal Budget: New National Security Office Precinct to be built in Barton, and more

“This is an important step in a major project for the ACT that will support jobs and provide accommodation for the public service,” Senator Gallagher said.

The site is Commonwealth-owned land and was previously identified in the National Capital Plan (NCP) as suitable for developing a multi-agency precinct. It is currently used as an outdoor car park with 735 spaces.

The project was announced in the October 2022 budget, and the Department of Finance is leading its development.

Key tenants of the new Precinct are expected to include the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) and parts of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

It is described as “an enduring sovereign asset that will provide a secure, fit-for-purpose solution that enables agencies to effectively deliver on their outcomes, now and into the future”.

John Gorton Campus carpark

Concept art of the multi-level John Gorton Campus car park. Image: Department of Finance.

Prior to work starting on the new Precinct, Stage 1 of the project will see a new multi-storey car park built at the John Gorton Campus on King Avenue. The new car park will have 1153 spaces and a childcare centre on the ground floor capable of accommodating up to 170 children. The new car park will also support workers and visitors to the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery and the future Ngurra Cultural Precinct.

Stage 1 construction will commence this year and is scheduled for completion in late 2024. However, it is unclear how or where those workers and visitors currently using the outdoor car park between Kings Avenue and Dorothy Tangney Place will be accommodated during construction.

READ ALSO National Security Precinct part of big APS shift to Barton

The Precinct’s site will be adjacent to the planned corridor for Stage 2 of the Light Rail, which is currently planned to cross Commonwealth Avenue Bridge from the city and turn east around State Circle before heading west, then south down Adelaide Avenue and Yarra Glen to Woden.

The cost of the project hasn’t been revealed, with an FAQs tab on the project’s Information page saying, “project financials are not for publication due to the commercial-in-confidence and national security sensitivities, so no details of the Project funding will be disclosed at this time”.

But Region understands that about $1.5 billion has been allocated to the project, and about five buildings totalling about 100,000 square metres of floor space are planned for the Precinct.

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Nick Stevens7:40 am 31 Mar 23

As carparks go, it looks OK, needed and will be well loved.

That very ugly building that will clash nicely against the classical design of John Gorton and OPH. Well done numpties.

Nick Stevens7:39 am 31 Mar 23

As carparks go, it looks OK, needed and will be well loved.

Well, that will make the light rail a bit more viable, as more people will use it if there’s a stop near this precinct.

ONI and DFAT are both well served by the existing faster and more frequent buses without spending $2 billion on the stupid tram, and this new building basically just moves them from one side of the road to the other.

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