Barracks boost as army moves
A REINFORCEMENT of up to 320 Australian soldiers, sailors and civilian contractors will be sent to Karrakatta’s Irwin Barracks after the expected $100 million sale of Leeuwin Barracks in East Fremantle starts later this year.
Irwin is headquarters for the Army Reserve 13th Brigade, which includes the famous 10th Light Horse Regiment and 28th Battalion of the Royal WA Regiment.
To take the influx from across the river, the site will need a $175 million upgrade for the serving military, their trainers, Department of Defence support staff and civilians, including counsellors and public relations officers now at the 14ha Leeuwin site.
East Fremantle Mayor Jim O’Neill said the department would determine when and how the sale went ahead.
“When they start moving them is up to the department to decide, and also which way the sale goes, whether they want to take on Leeuwin redevelopment’s rezoning, or whether it’s sold in parcels or as whole,” Mr O’Neill told the Western Suburbs Weekly.
His council, with residents’ and department participation, recently completed a “vision” concept for the Leeuwin site on the Swan River.
The concept creates 1400 to 1500 units, in about 25 blocks, ranging from two to 15 storeys in height.
It would also include a tribute to young navy recruits who were abused at the base.
Mr O’Neill said the vision could change in another three to four years of concept planning, after which it could take 25 years to complete the redevelopment of the riverside site.
A Department of Defence spokeswoman said new facilities at Irwin would include offices, training facilities, and storage to relocate 200 ADF members and 120 contractors by 2022-23.
The spokeswoman said there were no plans for ADF or private residential housing at Irwin, and no parts of the barracks would be sold to pay for the upgrade. She said Federal Government spending approval for the upgrade was not dependent on money from the sale of Leeuwin Barracks.
Last year, Curtin MHR Julie Bishop asked the Government to consider using part of the sale to help pay for a $46 million refurbishment of the SAS’s Seaward Village in Swanbourne.
Canberra’s Standing Committee on Public Works will re-examine the refurbishment this month, but a committee spokesman said a referral from the House of Representatives or Senate would be needed for any Irwin upgrade.