Vil­lage may be for sol­diers only

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

SEN­A­TORS ex­am­in­ing DHA-pro­posed civil­ian homes in the SAS’s Seaward Vil­lage heard the Defence Depart­ment told Ned­lands Coun­cil in 2013 it is “pru­dent” only sol­diers live in the vil­lage so ad­ja­cent Camp­bell Bar­racks is not com­pro­mised in Swan­bourne.

“Has this changed in the last two years? Any­body?” Sen­a­tor Stephen Con­roy asked DHA lead­ers, defence chiefs and Defence Min­is­ter Marise Payne at the Sen­ate Es­ti­mates hear­ing in Can­berra last Wed­nes­day.

Sen, Payne and DHA act­ing-man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jon Bock­le­hurst said they had not seen the let­ter.

Mr Brock­le­hurst said the re­de­vel­op­ment’s se­cu­rity de­sign was agreed to by former as­sis­tant defence min­is­ter Stu­art Robert af­ter the let­ter was sent.

Re­cently, an army se­cu­rity re­view found no rea­sons to stop the re­de­vel­op­ment, net­ting DHA an ini­tially mooted $50 mil­lion-$80 mil­lion profit, if the de­sign rules were fol­lowed, in­clud­ing a bar­rier be­tween mil­i­tary and civil­ian vil­lage precincts.

Cottes­loe MLA Colin Bar­nett op­poses re­de­vel­op­ment, and asked Sen. Payne to in­stead con­tinue re­fur­bish­ing the vil­lage’s homes in a let­ter two weeks ago.

Sen. Payne, who has re­spon­si­bil­ity for DHA while a new Cabi­net post is still be­ing de­cided, said to the “best of her rec­ol­lec­tion” she had not seen the let­ter, but she would re­spond to sen­a­tors and Mr Bar­nett later.

Sen­a­tor Dean Smith asked if DHA had sur­veyed sol­diers and their fam­i­lies about the vil­lage’s fu­ture, since se­ries of con­tested DHA-run fo­cus groups with some gen­eral pub­lic and in­for­ma­tion ses­sions for neigh­bour­ing Swan­bourne ratepay­ers.

DHA re­gional man­ager of de­vel­op­ment James Wal­lace said a brief­ing ses­sion with about 30 vil­lagers was on Septem­ber 14, af­ter 153 vil­lage homes were sur­veyed af­ter July 1.

Mr Wal­lace said about 61 vil­lagers re­sponded to the sur­vey, of which 20 per cent op­posed re­de­vel­op­ment.

Since mid-2014 about 17 per cent of the bun­ga­lows in the vil­lage have been va­cant.

“So we pre­sume that DHA wasn’t in­clud­ing those in their rub­bery fig­ures,” Aus­tralian SAS As­so­ci­a­tion chair Terry Nolan said.

Mr Nolan said the hear­ing showed no one in Can­berra was tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the re­de­vel­op­ment, which would up­root long-serv­ing mil­i­tary fam­i­lies and cre­ate risks in an in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment shown by the Par­ra­matta shoot­ing.

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