‘SAS wives can buy display homes’
OUTSPOKEN former Federal MP Wilson Tuckey told a Senate committee this morning that SAS wives should choose display homes to replace ageing houses at Seaward Village to save Canberra $20 million.
“You can have a home under $150,000, and there are about 20 homes at $150,000 to $200,000, and 30 designs from $200,000 to $300,000,” Mr Tuckey, a former Public Works Committee chair, told its members.
The committee is examining Defence Housing Australia’s $48.3 million refurbishment of the 153house Swanbourne village.
The refurbishment was favoured ahead of a proposal to sell 25 per cent of the 22ha site for private housing and build a smaller precinct for soldiers’ families.
Mr Tuckey said display homes costing about $30 million would allow for the replacement of long-term infrastructure, such as sewers and power supply.
“The day after villagers’ houses are refurbished, they could go to a power point and it blows up because new wall conduits may not have been fitted,” he said.
He said it was the committee’s job to inquire about cost benefits and make sure the taxpayer was not being “dudded”.
Committee deputy chairman Tony Zappia said Mr Tuckey’s submission prompted the committee to ask about using suburban housing stock at the village.
Department of Defence Relocation and Housing director Anthony Job would not comment about Mr Tuckey’s proposal, other than saying DHA had a record of providing “good homes” for defence personnel.
However, some villagers have already been affected, including being told to move from the village in a rush before Christmas, and others facing having to potentially move twice.
A DHA spokesman said no resident had been asked to move from the village in a rush.
He said all Seaward Village residents had been kept fully informed of the upgrade project through letterbox drops, a dedicated website and email address and through ongoing contact with local DHA staff.
DHA staff told the committee “zero” houses could now be demolished after families were told a proposed 10-12 houses were to be brought down last year.
Asked by Senator Dean Smith if outcomes of the consultation in the past six months had delayed refurbishing, DHA Property Provisioning Group program director Craig said he was not aware of anything.