George Town hub to open in 2015

NEWLY approved construction for a $6.4 million multi- services hub at George Town's Regent Square has been given a 2015 completion date by the state government.

Minister for Children Michelle O'Byrne said this week that tenders would be sought for the development in January.

Approval for the construction of the hub on the heritage-listed square was granted on Monday by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works - headed by Huon MLC Paul Harriss.

The committee decision was divided by Bass Greens MHA Kim Booth, who voted against approvals given by Mr Harriss, Braddon Liberal MHA Adam Brooks, Western Tiers MLC Greg Hall and Lyons MHA Rebecca White.

The hub will contain a Learning and Information Network Centre, child and family centre and Service Tasmania, including Centrelink.

In his dissenting statement Mr Booth said he believed "some millions of dollars" could have been saved by excluding non- child and family centre services.

"The evidence was very clear that a child and family centre was justified but not the hub concept," he said.

"The hub duplicates already existing services and will create further redundant real estate in an already over-supplied and depressed market."

However, the committee found the hub design would provide beneficial, cost- effective community services "by the removal of duplication of resources and equipment, reduction of administrative overheads and recurrent costs".

A government spokesman on Tuesday said the hub's central location would allow clients easy access to other services while carrying out business in the town.

"The child and and family centre will have a vehicle and may provide some transport services in specific circumstances," he said.

"This will be a matter the team at the centre will determine in consultation with the community."

The spokesman said existing services would "remain in place in the intervening period".

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