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Olympic 2000 village is to be built in Sydney adjacent to a munitions depot, which will be moved to Jervis Bay or another site, subject to Defence Department approval; comments on the 'Four corners' program on the Olympic bid.

ELLEN FANNING: Sydney may be dealing with a last minute gliche in its efforts to secure the Olympics for the year 2000. One of Sydney's chief salesmen appears to have been a little too enthusiastic. The Olympic village is set to be constructed on land adjacent to a munitions depot and the weapons will have to be moved. 'No problem', says the New South Wales Minister responsible for the bid. Bruce Baird says he's been given a personal assurance by the Defence Minister that the arms will be transferred South to Jervis Bay, but as Stephen McDonald reports, the Defence Minister says he's done no such thing.

STEPHEN McDONALD: Today was a big day for the Sydney Olympic bid. The controversial report of the IOC Inquiry Commission which so thoroughly endorses Sydney as the preferred site for the 2000 games was finally released officially. To the delight of the Minister responsible for the Australian bid, Mr Bruce Baird, Sydney's Telegraph-Mirror newspaper ran a front page story this afternoon hailing their city as the perfect bid. Mr Baird was so impressed by the Tele-Mirror's coverage that he began this afternoon's media conference by holding up the paper like a victor's trophy. But then he turned his attention to those in the media who are not being helpful and in particular he singled out the ABC's Four Corners.

BRUCE BAIRD: We've got another little item coming up on Four Corners, which pursued us round Monte Carlo, which I'm not looking forward to, but I think all of those things are unhelpful. If I can say to you collectively that there is one thing that is going to be - if there is one issue that I could point to that is going to be more unhelpful than any other, that's shooting ourselves in the foot.

JOURNALIST: Mr Baird, what's in this Four Corners program that you see as so damaging?

BRUCE BAIRD: Well, we'll wait and see.

JOURNALIST: Why do you see it as so damaging? You must have an idea what's in it.

BRUCE BAIRD: Well, I just think that it will be clear when the program comes out that they were asking lots of questions to members of the Olympic Committee without the background of the Olympics, and I just don't think that was helpful. Now, I don't wish to pursue it at this time. I know the people who were there very well. They continue to assure me that they're doing a fair and unbiased discussion, but when they were there they were seen as Sydney people, and that's all that it is - and you're obviously from the ABC, to coin an old phrase. But it is the people of Sydney who are in this race. And I don't plan to be patronising or unkind to anybody, but if anybody gets in the way of the bid then all I say is: Watch out. I mean, I'm not in the business of making uncomplimentary remarks, but it is a tough race and the numbers are tight and people without experience who blunder into situations can be unhelpful.

STEPHEN McDONALD: And there can be nothing more unhelpful, it seems, than questioning Sydney's untarnished bid, as journalists today discovered when the past life of the proposed Olympic village was raised. The first hint of trouble was when a reporter claiming to be from The Washington Post asked Mr Baird about the prior use of the proposed village as a toxic dumping ground; and as to the fate of the arms being stored, by the Navy, next to the site - well, that too is not to be questioned.

BRUCE BAIRD: And you're from where?

JOURNALIST: The Washington Post.

BRUCE BAIRD: Right. Well, The Washington Post we welcome here and we notice your comments on various issues, but in terms of toxic waste we don't have a problem. I mean, we have taken action on that site and it is not an issue.

JOURNALIST: Have the arms which are being stored on the site been removed yet?

BRUCE BAIRD: Well, I mean, it is a disposal site at the moment; it is being moved and we have agreement from the Minister that they will be moved.

JOURNALIST: Is there a site which they can all be moved to? Has that site been secured where these arms will be moved to?

BRUCE BAIRD: That's an agreement by the Minister.

JOURNALIST: Can't you tell us though, where these arms are going to be moved to?

BRUCE BAIRD: Well, why don't you ask Senator Ray?

JOURNALIST: Well, will he be able to tell us? Some people in the army are saying that there's, in the navy rather, that there's no location ....

BRUCE BAIRD: Who do you work for - again?


BRUCE BAIRD: Thank you. I think I've answered that question. The site has been determined by Senator Ray, that it is being moved to Jervis Bay. Would you like to make a statement?

JOURNALIST: No, no. I'm just questioning whether or not, some people in the Navy are saying that that hasn't actually been secured yet.

BRUCE BAIRD: Some people in the navy. Senator Ray has personally assured us that it is being moved to Jervis Bay. Now, that's for them to be determined exactly where the location but they have given us a firm commitment that it is being moved to there.

JOURNALIST: Is there a date?

BRUCE BAIRD: Well I mean, obviously, it's dependent on whether we get the bid or not.

STEPHEN McDONALD: But according to the Defence Minister, Robert Ray, there has been no such personal assurance given to Mr Baird or anyone. And further, when PM contacted Senator Ray's office, we were told that Mr Baird is also wrong in claiming that the site has been determined by Mr Ray. They claim the final decision on where the arms are to be shifted has not even be made. This was also confirmed today by the Sydney bid's Executive Manager of Planning and Design, David Churches.

DAVID CHURCHES: The remaining section of the site is certainly to be moved. We understand people within the navy certainly favour relocation to the Jervis Bay site.

STEPHEN McDONALD: But there's no concrete location is there?

DAVID CHURCHES: The decision is being made by the Department of Defence and they are currently looking at a range of options this year. The report is under way now and the final decision by the Department of Defence has yet to be made.

STEPHEN McDONALD: But the Minister is wrong when he says that there is already a location, and that has been chosen, and that it's Jervis Bay.

DAVID CHURCHES: That's absolutely true.

STEPHEN McDONALD: And according to Senator Ray's office, the decision on where the arms are to go is not even up to the Defence Department. They say a short list of four locations has been made and that will go to Cabinet for the final decision.