Bar­racks safety fear

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

DE­FENCE Min­is­ter Kevin An­drews says the threat of ter­ror­ism on streets is a “ma­jor prob­lem” but he will wait for a se­cu­rity as­sess­ment be­fore de­cid­ing on a pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment that could re­sult in civil­ian streets within 200m of the SAS’s Camp­bell Bar­racks in Swan­bourne.

“Can I di­rectly say to the de­fence per­son­nel there and their fam­i­lies, I am per­son­ally mind­ful of the is­sues that they’ve raised and we will con­tinue to be mind­ful, and we’ll ob­vi­ously take very much into ac­count the as­sess­ment in re­la­tion to the se­cu­rity is­sue there,” he told the Western Sub­urbs Weekly af­ter vis­it­ing the bar­racks last Wed­nes­day.

De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia plans to de­mol­ish the 154, 1980sera homes at the 22ha Seaward Vil­lage next to the bar­racks, use half the site to sell flat­tened blocks for pri­vate homes and build 165 new homes for sol­diers on the re­main­ing land.

Vil­lagers and Swan­bourne res­i­dents are con­cerned that putting civil­ians close to the bar­racks could pose se­cu­rity risks, in­clud­ing sol­diers not know­ing their neigh­bours, sur­veil­lance, and the threats demon­strated by re­cent ter­ror­ism-re­lated street at­tacks in Syd­ney, Mel­bourne and Lon­don.

“We’ve seen it on the streets of Syd­ney, we’ve seen it on the streets of my home town Mel­bourne,” Mr An­drews said.

“We are for­tu­nate that a num­ber of other plots have been in­ter­rupted.”

He said he was told at the bar­racks about se­cu­rity fears raised by the pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment and he now un­der­stood the con­cerns of sol­diers’ fam­i­lies.

But he said the gov­ern­ment wanted de­fence per­son­nel and fam­i­lies to have the best hous­ing and a Depart­ment of De­fence (DoD) se­cu­rity as­sess­ment would “clearly pro­vide” in­for­ma­tion for a de­ci­sion on the vil­lage.

The as­sess­ment was ex­pected to be fin­ished last month but a DoD spokesman said that ad­vice about se­cu­rity and the vil­lage’s pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment was still be­ing con­sid­ered last week.

In 1991, Fed­eral Par­lia­ment’s Public Works Com­mit­tee found there was “no scope” for civil­ians to live in or near the vil­lage, be­fore rec­om­mend­ing keep­ing the land for the SAS.

“If in 1991, when the se­cu­rity threat was low, it was deemed nec­es­sary to stop ur­ban en­croach­ment, how do you jus­tify not do­ing that now?” Aus­tralian SAS As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Terry Nolan said.

“It’s in­con­sis­tent.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.