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Friday, 13 November 1964

Senator PALTRIDGE - Because I have had some discussion with the Minister for the Navy on this matter, I take the opportunity to answer the question rather than leave it to my colleague who represents the Minister for the Navy. I would like the honorable senator to be aware that this decision was not in any way taken lightly. It is relevant to remember that a naval establishment - a torpedo factory - already has been set up at Neutral Bay. It has been there for a number of years. A number of sites were surveyed before this decision was made. Sites at Balmoral, Watson's Bay, Athol Bight, Garden Island, Shark Island, Woolwich Dock, Port Stephens, Botany Bay, Jervis Bay and Port Kembla were all examined. Not only was it found that for operational reasons is Neutral Bay a very desirable site, but it is also not unimportant that it was found that a base could be established there at approximately half the cost of its establishment anywhere else. I trust that what I have said indicates very clearly to the honorable senator that this decision has not been taken lightly and that the Department of the Navy examined a number of alternative sites before reaching this decision.

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