CIVIL­IAN HOUS­ING A ‘MOCK­ERY’

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

TEM­PO­RAR­ILY lift­ing pro­tec­tion for the SAS’s Seaward Vil­lage in Swan­bourne for De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia (DHA) de­mo­li­tion to cre­ate civil­ian blocks is a “mock­ery”, a Fed­eral Par­lia­ment in­quiry was told last Thurs­day.

“The cur­rent ar­range­ment that’s go­ing to take place be­tween DHA and De­fence is that the covenant that ex­ists will be lifted to al­low saleable land, and then it will be reim­posed on the mil­i­tary land that’s left, which makes a bit of a mock­ery of the ex­is­tence of a covenant in the first place,” Aus­tralia SAS As­so­ci­a­tion vicechair­man An­drew Leahy told the Fed­eral Public Works Com­mit­tee at the Ren­dezvous Ho­tel,

The hear­ing into a $230 mil­lion re­fur­bish­ment of the SAS’s Camp­bell Bar­racks also in­vited those con­cerned about DHA’s pro­posal for the 22ha, 155-home vil­lage to be­come about 150 civil­ian lots and 165 new sol­ders’ homes.

Mr Leahy said it was hard to un­der­stand why DHA was flat­ten­ing the vil­lage when it was re­fur­bish­ing 85 houses at HMAS Cer­berus and 154 at Puckapunyal army base, both in Vic­to­ria, and 103 homes at RAAF Tin­dal in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

A June 4, 1991 agree­ment be­tween DHA’s pre­de­ces­sor and the Depart­ment of De­fence says while Camp­bell Bar­racks ex­ists, DHA will not “deal with or en­cum­ber or sell any of the houses or un­de­vel­oped land into the pri­vate sec­tor” in the vil­lage.

Bri­gadier Noel Beu­tel said there was no in­ten­tion to re­lo­cate the bar­racks be­cause it was an “en­dur­ing fa­cil­ity” and part of a cur­rent Force Struc­ture Re­view for a forth­com­ing White Pa­per on Aus­tralia’s de­fence needs for the next 30 years.

How­ever, Swan­bourne res­i­dent Sam Van­don­gen said DHA’s pro­posal still put the bar­racks at risk from “in­evitable” com­plaints about SAS train­ing noise from the own­ers of any new civil­ian homes.

Mr Van­don­gen said Swan­bourne res­i­dents’ sup­port of the Depart­ment of De­fence was “likely to evap­o­rate” if the vil­lage was re­de­vel­oped, caus­ing an “eight-fold” lo­cal traf­fic in­crease and us­ing part of val­ued Melon Hill in 90-year-old ad­ja­cent Allen Park.

The 1991 covenant agreed be­tween DHA and the Depart­ment of De­fence.

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