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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5492

Senator Bob Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, upon notice, on 3 July 2009:

(1)   Has the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range been gazetted under the Defence Force Regulations 1952 as a defence practice area; if not, why not; if so, have both the land and the airspace been gazetted.

(2)   If only the land has been gazetted, why was the airspace not gazetted.

(3)   If any part of the range has been gazetted, have any claims for compensation been made under regulation 57(1) of the Defence Force Regulations 1952; if so, what was the outcome.

(4)   Are the aircraft using the range flying over residential areas with activated weapons.

(5)   When is the review of the weapons range, initiated by the former Minister for Defence (Mr Fitzgibbon), as reported in The Herald, 7 May 2009, scheduled to be finished.

(6)   When will the department publicly release its report about noise emission data from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as reported in The Herald, 7 May 2009.

Senator Faulkner (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Yes. The gazettal includes both the land and the airspace.

(2)   Not applicable.

(3)   Defence has received six claims for compensation for the effects of aircraft noise from residents within the vicinity of RAAF Williamtown and the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range (SAAWR). Five of the six claims are regarded as abandoned because the claimants failed to pursue them following deemed refusal by Defence under the Regulation. One claim is presently under consideration.

(4)   No.

(5)   An internal review was completed in March 2009.

(6)   Defence plans to publicly release available noise data as part of a consolidated information package on the expected environmental impacts from the introduction of the Joint Strike Fighter in late 2010.