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Thursday, 14 November 2002
Page: 6471

Senator Nettle asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 16 October 2002:

(1) Who is the correct person to contact and what is the procedure for residents who have been badly affected by aircraft activities or ordnance training in the vicinity of the Lancelin Defence Training Area in Western Australia.

(2) Is there a procedure to follow for residents to recover the cost of repair of any damage caused to houses as result of training exercises.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Flight Lieutenant Clayton Wilson, Base Legal Officer at Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce, is the point of contact. Telephone calls relating to noise are logged into a register book and a form is sent to the complainant to confirm the alleged complaint. Once a written complaint for noise has been received, an internal inquiry or investigation will occur by either the Operations Area or, for more serious matters, the Base Executive Officer may conduct an inquiry or investigation into the affair.

(2) In the event of alleged damage arising from aircraft activities or ordnance used at the Lancelin Defence Training Area the matter may be referred to either the Base Commander of Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce or to Flight Lieutenant Wilson. The complaint will be acknowledged and a response letter sent, informing the complainant that the matter will be directed to and handled by the Defence Insurance Office (formerly Claims Management Office) in Melbourne (details are provided in the letter). The Defence Insurance Office is responsible for policy and matters concerning Defence's insurance and will handle alleged claims. It is best suited to assessing Defence's potential liability arising from claims for damages and similar matters.