La­bor sup­ports works scru­tiny

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By LISA THOMAS

FED­ERAL La­bor Party pol­icy is to strengthen a pro­tec­tive covenant over the SAS’ Seaward Vil­lage by re­mov­ing a $15 mil­lion limit on what can be ex­am­ined by Can­berra’s Fed­eral Par­lia­men­tary Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Public Works (PWC).

“What we want to see is that it does not mat­ter what val­u­a­tion on a project is placed there, it will be a re­quire­ment that any pro­posal have in­de­pen­dent scru­tiny to make sure it is gen­uinely in the best in­ter­ests of de­fence fam­i­lies,” Op­po­si­tion de­fence spokesman Steven Con­roy told the Western Suburbs Weekly last week.

In April, the Gov­ern­ment can­celled a De­fence Hous­ing Aus­tralia-pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment of the vil­lage for civil­ian lots.

The Gov­ern­ment in­stead ap­proved a re­fur­bish­ment favoured by com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion led by SAS wives.

A re­view of the re­de­vel­op­ment rec­om­mended con­sid­er­ing re­turn­ing the vil­lage to De­fence con­trol.

“If the Public Works Com­mit­tee has to sign off on any­thing, I think that’s more pow­er­ful be­cause De­fence were on board for this re­de­vel­op­ment, the Min­is­ter was on board, ev­ery­body signed up against these SAS fam­i­lies,” Sen Con­roy said.

“So I’m not con­fi­dent that mov­ing it from De­fence Hous­ing’s to De­fence’s re­mit would not solve the prob­lem be­cause they were in ca­hoots to­gether.”

Sen Con­roy said the ALP ad­vo­cated a stronger covenant now be­cause of the com­mu­nity’s and SAS wives’ vic­tory, but should it not win the July 2 elec­tion, the Gov­ern­ment should have “learnt its les­son” and sup­port a stronger covenant.

Af­ter the re­fur­bish­ment an­nounce­ment, WA Lib­eral Se­na­tor Dean Smith ad­vo­cated DHA be put back un­der the PWC’s ex­am­i­na­tion.

Asked if the Coali­tion would strengthen the covenant and re­turn DHA to the PWC, Curtin MHR Julie Bishop said the Gov­ern­ment ac­cepted the re­view’s rec­om­men­da­tions that the covenant should re­main and Seaward’s sale not be con­sid­ered in the short to mid-term.

“The Deed of Covenant pre­vents DHA from sell­ing or leas­ing any of the land to pri­vate ci­ti­zens with­out the agree­ment of De­fence and the Gov­ern­ment has no plans to al­ter the Covenant,” Ms Bishop said.

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