Seaward not part of in­quiry

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

FED­ERAL Pub­lic Works Com­mit­tee chair­man Sen­a­tor Dean Smith says his in­quiry into a $223 mil­lion re­build of the SAS’s Camp­bell Bar­racks can lis­ten to those con­cerned with the pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment of sol­diers’ neigh­bour­ing Seaward Vil­lage in Swan­bourne.

How­ever, res­i­dents’ com­ments may not be in­cluded in the report by the Par­lia­men­tary Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Works, which will hold hear­ings in Au­gust in Perth.

“The vil­lage is not in the scope of this in­quiry, but when we send no­tice of the pub­lic hear­ings we can hear their views,” Sen Smith said.

De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia (DHA) may spend about $165 mil­lion de­mol­ish­ing 154 sol­diers’ homes on the 22ha vil­lage, us­ing half the site for civil­ian homes and the re­main­der for 165 new de­fence houses.

How­ever, in 2014 DHA was ex­empted from the com­mit­tee, which ex­am­ines Fed­eral Govern­ment projects worth more than $15 mil­lion. Crit­ics of re­de­vel­op­ing the vil­lage cite the com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion af­ter it ex­am­ined the re­place­ment of 77 pre­fab­ri­cated homes at the vil­lage in 1991.

“For op­er­a­tional and so­cial rea­sons de­riv­ing from the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the Spe­cial Air Ser­vice Reg­i­ment (SASR) there is no scope for the De­fence Hous­ing Au­thor­ity to de­velop Seaward Vil­lage as an es­tate con­tain­ing a mix­ture of civil­ian and de­fence hous­ing,” the com­mit­tee said.

Asked about the rec­om­men­da­tion, Sen Smith said his com­mit­tee could deal only with is­sues sent to it by Par­lia­ment and his in­quiry would look at re­plac­ing ag­ing build­ings from mid-2016 to 2018 at the bar­racks, where the SASR had grown from about 350 sol­diers to more than 700.

Aus­tralian SAS As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Terry Nolan said he be­lieved the in­quiry and a De­part­ment of De­fence se­cu­rity re­view of the vil­lage’s re­de­vel­op­ment due to­day would stop the civil­ian hous­ing pro­posal.

Mr Nolan said Sen Smith should con­sider the still cur­rent 1991 covenant over the land that se­cured long-term SAS ten­ure at Camp­bell Bar­racks. He said vil­lagers needed “peace of mind and se­cu­rity”.

“If land is sold for civil­ian hous­ing in Seaward Vil­lage it must se­ri­ously ques­tion the long term vi­a­bil­ity of the area for a strate­gic army-ADF base and put at risk un­nec­es­sar­ily the se­cu­rity and peace of mind of mil­i­tary fam­i­lies in the vil­lage,” he said.

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