Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By JON BAS­SETT

THE pub­lic, for­mer sol­diers and Sea­ward Vil­lage res­i­dents can con­trib­ute to a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­view of De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia’s (DHA) pro­posal to re­de­velop the SAS’s Sea­ward Vil­lage.

An­nounc­ing the re­view’s terms of ref­er­ence last Thurs­day, As­sis­tant Min­is­ter for De­fence Dar­ren Ch­ester said the re­de­vel­op­ment and “ap­pro­pri­ate” al­ter­na­tives would be eval­u­ated, along with the se­cu­rity risk of hav­ing civil­ian lots near the elite reg­i­ment, and any need for fu­ture re­stric­tions on how vil­lage could be used, in­clud­ing the rel­e­vance of a cur­rent covenant over the land.

“This re­view will as­sist the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in en­sur­ing all op­tions have been con­sid­ered in or­der to pro­vide long-term hous­ing at the agreed stan­dard to mem­bers of the Aus­tralian De­fence Force,” Mr Ch­ester said.

The vil­lage houses about a quar­ter of the SAS Reg­i­ment based at the adjacent Camp­bell Bar­racks and their fam­i­lies.

How­ever, DHA has claimed it is too ex­pen­sive to re­fur­bish the vil­lage’s 153 1990s-built homes, while sol­diers and their fam­i­lies are wor­ried that sell­ing half the 22ha site for pri­vate hous­ing would in­tro­duce civil­ians to the se­cu­rity-sen­si­tive site.

Some Swan­bourne res­i­dents want the vil­lage re­tained and no de­vel­op­ment en­croach­ing on the neigh­bour­ing A-Class Allen Park bush in the fu­ture.

Premier and Cottes­loe MLA Colin Bar­nett backed con­cerns about DHA’s pro­posal, be­fore Curtin MHR Julie Bishop re­quested the re­view last month.

Aus­tralian SAS As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Terry Nolan said the terms of ref­er­ence were “en­cour­ag­ing”, but the re­view’s test would be whether there was ad­e­quate con­sul­ta­tion.

“The de­ci­sion to re­de­velop the vil­lage was a po­lit­i­cal one and at the end of the day a de­ci­sion not to de­velop will also be a po­lit­i­cal one, and it’s hoped com­mon sense will now pre­vail be­cause ul­ti­mately the con­clu­sion must be that Sea­ward Vil­lage is to re­main an ex­clu­sively mil­i­tary hous­ing area,” Mr Nolan said.

DHA act­ing-man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jan Ma­son said the de­fence force hous­ing agency would co-op­er­ate fully with the terms of the re­view and other DHA devel­op­ments in WA would no be af­fected by Sea­ward Vil­lage.

Re­tired Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Mark Evans will con­duct the re­view, be­fore it re­ports by Fe­bru­ary 29.

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