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Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Page: 8256


Mr ROBERT (FaddenAssistant Minister for Defence) (11:35): In summing up the debate on the Defence Legislation Amendment (Woomera Prohibited Area) Bill 2014 I thank the members for their contributions today, especially the member for Grey—the only South Australian to have spoken here today about one of the major areas for expansion of the South Australian economy. It is great to see South Australia being so ably represented by my good friend and colleague the member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey.

The Defence Legislation Amendment (Woomera Prohibited Area) Bill 2014 gives effect to the recommendations of the Hawke review. The aim of course was to investigate the best use of the world's greatest rocket range in the national interest and how two parties, Defence and non-Defence users, can coexist. I think the bill has arrived at a sensible, negotiated outcome. It is an outcome where defence can continue to operate a rocket range longer than the British Isles—the biggest one in the world—in support of the work that we do.

This legislation recognises existing users and it preserves existing users' right, which is important for those who already have a stake in the area. It establishes a framework for those non-Defence users to actually come within the WPA and gives a level of certainty over what we in Defence will do and how the non-Defence users can work within that so that they can account for sensibly in a commercial manner the restrictions that will be provided—and the restrictions are small and they are not onerous. It allows users to make sensible commercial decisions with assurance of when we will ask them to leave the area—because, frankly, defence is using it to test weapons. Lastly, it protects the safety of all users in the WPA and ensures that the appropriate national security protections for an area that is used to test defence capability are indeed in place.

It is a good, negotiated outcome between Defence and non-Defence users. I think it will be good for South Australia. I thank the member for Grey for his astute comments in terms of the South Australian economy and his continual work in improving the South Australian economy and what it is doing. I hope this bill will go some way to assist him with the great task that he has ahead. I therefore commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.