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Thursday, 19 March 1987
Page: 979


Senator WEST —My question to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs relates to the proposed fate of the former Army School of Health property at Healesville. The property is surplus to Government requirements and considerable interest has been shown in its future as a possible tourist venue. Has the Minister any further information about the proposed fate of the property?


Senator GIETZELT —Commonwealth property from time to time does become available for disposal because it is surplus to the Commonwealth's requirements. The Department of Defence has determined that that piece of land is available for other use, following the relocation of the Army School of Health to Portsea almost a year ago. A consultative committee has been established, chaired by my colleague Mr Lamb, the honourable member for Streeton, comprising representatives of the relevant Commonwealth, State and local government agencies together with four members of the local community. The Commonwealth policy is that the disposal of surplus land should in the first instance be made available to the State and local authorities as a policy matter. That committee has the responsibility of determining whether other public uses of the land have to be taken into consideration. However, the Minister advises me that the Commonwealth's decisions in respect to that committee's recommendations have not been finalised as yet, so, in the circumstances, until such time as the committee has made specific recommendation about the future use of the land I can only advise Senator West that the matter is being actively pursued. Shortly the Government is expected to receive the recommendations of the committee.