Bar­racks boost as army moves

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

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.

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