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Tuesday, 30 November 1971
Page: 3873

Mr Morrison (ST GEORGE, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice

(1) In what year did Australia enter into an arrangement with the United Kingdom and New Zealand to share the cost of constructing and operating the army base at Terendak in Malaysia.

(2) What were the terms of this arrangement.

(3) What has been Australia's total financial outlay on (a) the capital cost and (b) the operating cost of the base.

(4) What arrangements were made with (a) the United Kingdom and New Zealand and (b) Malaysia to safeguard Australia's investment in the base.

(5) Under what terms did Malaysia assume occupancy of the base.

(6) What has happened lo the Australian investment in the base.

Mr Fairbairn - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   1958.

(2)   The arrangements were that the capital cost of constructing the base was to be shared by the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in proportion to their establishment strengths. Works maintenance costs were to be borne in proportion to the average monthly strengths of the three contingents during the year. Subsequently separate arrangements were settled for distributing operating costs depending on the nature of the service, e.g., supply of rations water and electricity costs, hire of furniture, etc.

(3)   The outlay by Australia for capital costs was$5.6m. In addition Australia paid a further sum of approximately $850,000 as a consequence of a bilateral arrangement between Australia and New Zealand. Details of operating costs paid by Australia specific to the base are not known as they are included in overall Australian Army expenditure figures for the Malaysia/Singapore area generally.

(4)   (a) The Australian forces occupied the Terendak base as part of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve and the agreement between the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand provided that the Australian and New Zealand Governments would share in any disposal proceeds in proportion to their contributions to the original capital costs of construction. (b) As the base was a United Kingdom installation Australia made no arrangements directly with Malaysia regarding occupancy.

(5)   When the base was no longer required by the United Kingdom or Australian and New Zealand forces it was handed over to the Malaysians by the United Kingdom under arrangements made between the Governments of those two countries.

(6)   The Australian investment contributed to the defence of Malaysia during the presence of the Strategic Reserve and is still doing so during the occupation of the base by units of the Malaysian Armed forces. Australia obtained good value for its capital outlay during almost a decade of use by some thousands of Australian soldiers and their families.

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