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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1111

Senator McINTOSH —Can the Minister representing the Minister for Defence confirm the basic details given in the leading article in the Times on Sunday of 22 March by Geoff Kitney, headed `Government enlists US aid to forewarn a Soviet hit'? If confirmed, does the Government intend to initiate arrangements for emergency services in these vulnerable areas?

Senator GARETH EVANS —The Government can confirm that a report has been prepared which examines in some detail the risk of nuclear attack on the three joint facilities of Pine Gap, Nurrungar and North West Cape. The Prime Minister said on 6 June 1984 that hosting the joint facilities brings with it some degree of added risk of nuclear attack, and that assessment has been repeated by me and other Government spokesmen on numerous occasions subsequently. In the light of this assessment the Government believes that it has a responsibility to address the measures needed to protect the communities which might be affected by such attacks should they occur.

The paper referred to in the Times on Sunday and in earlier articles some weeks ago in newspapers in the Northern Territory and South Australia is the first step towards providing such protection. The paper provides the detailed assessment of the nature and consequences of any possible nuclear attack on the joint facilities. This is an essential preliminary for any detailed planning of civil defence measures. The report is now being made available to State and Territory emergency services with a view to developing appropriate plans in consultation with the Department of Defence and the National Disasters Organisation.