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Friday, 20 February 1987
Page: 401

(Question No. 768)

Senator Michael Baume asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 6 December 1985:

(1) What is the preliminary estimate of cost in 1985 dollars of the following defence activities:

(a) moving the Royal Australian Navy from Sydney to Jervis Bay;

(b) moving the Army from Sydney to the Bathurst/Orange, Cobar and Singleton areas;

(c) moving the Proof and Experimental Establishment from Port Wakefield in South Australia.

(2) Does provision exist for any of these projects in the current Defence Five Year Rolling Program; if so, how much expenditure is planned for which projects in which years.

(3) Which of these projects have received Government approval in principle, when was that approval given and by whom was the approval given-

(a) the Prime Minister

(b) the Minister for Defence; or

(c) the Cabinet.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following response to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a) The proposed relocation of a naval armament depot from Sydney to Jervis Bay has been announced. Costs are expected to be in the order of $120m in 1986 prices. A study is being conducted into the scope for moving certain naval operational support facilities from Sydney. The study is addressing implications of basing more warships in WA and of developing fleet base facilities at Jervis Bay. Depending on the option chosen, costs at Jervis Bay could exceed $1000m.

(1) (b) As announced during 1986, the Government has decided not to proceed with proposals for the establishment of Army training areas near Bathurst-Orange and Cobar. No costs have been developed for works at Singleton pending further studies.

(1) (c) There is no proposal to move the Proof and Experimental Establishment from Port Wakefield. However the Minister for Defence announced on 29 August 1986 that the range there was to be extended. The cost of land acquisition for that purpose is expected to be of the order of $2.5m.

(2) Provision is made in the Five Year Defence Program for land acquisition for and construction of an armament depot at Jervis Bay, and for environmental and other studies associated with that proposal and the proposal to move elements of the Fleet there. The tentative expenditure spread is as follows: 1986/87, $0.4m; 1987/88, $4.1m; 1988/89, $5.0m; 1989/90, $7.8m; 1990/91, $20.1m; later years, $109m. Provision for land acquisition at Port Wakefield is $2.0m in 1986/87 and $0.5m in 1987/88.

(3) The Prime Minister announced the intention to relocate the naval armament depot in a joint announcement with the NSW Premier on 17 December 1985, and the Minister for Defence announced the study of the relocation of certain naval operational support facilities from Sydney on 3 October 1985. There will be no Government decision on relocation of those facilities, until the necessary environmental and other studies have been undertaken.