‘SAS wives can buy dis­play homes’

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BASSETT

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.

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