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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1109


Senator MISSEN —My question is addressed to the Attorney-General in his capacity representing the Minister for Defence. It relates to the future use and ownership of the land at Point Nepean in Victoria, which is currently being occupied by the Army's Officer Cadet School. As the cadet school is to be moved to Canberra in two years time and the Defence Department will have no further need for the area, I ask the Minister: First, does he agree that it is vital that Point Nepean, one of the most scenic and historically significant areas of land in Victoria, be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations of Australians? Secondly, has the Army advised the Federal Government what it envisages as the future use of the entire Point Nepean area? Thirdly, what response has the Federal Government given to the stated wish of the Victorian Government, the Victorian Opposition and conservation groups to see the land is used as a carefully managed national park?


Senator GARETH EVANS —The response I have from the Minister for Defence enables me to answer Senator Missen's questions as follows. First, I was asked whether or not I agreed that it was vital that the Point Nepean area be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. Yes, I do, because the present historical and scenic value of the Point Nepean area derives partly from its long association with military activities and the intention given by its military tenants to preserve the environment there. Secondly, the army has proposed that its School of Health, presently at Healesville, and units of the Reserve should use facilities at Portsea after the Officer Cadet School transfers to the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1986. With regard to the response of the Federal Government to the stated wish of the Victorian Government and others who want to see the land used as a national park, the Minister for Defence has recently discussed the possible future uses of buildings and the present training areas at Point Nepean with the Victorian Government and he has asked his Department to undertake a thorough and comprehensive study of options for uses of the various facilities at Portsea after 1986. The Minister has indicated that the studies should take account of local considerations and State Government wishes.