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Tuesday, 1 May 1984
Page: 1356


Senator MASON —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Firstly, is it true that the Government is contemplating resuming large areas of land in the Tamworth, Dubbo or Bathurst/Mudgee areas of New South Wales for an army training school and/or an artillery range? Is it true that consideration of this proposal was initiated under the former Government when the right honourable member for New England, Mr Sinclair, was Minister for Defence, although there was no public knowledge of the proposal until April of this year? Is it true that the property of the right honourable member for New England forms part of the land which may be acquired in the Tamworth area? Is it true that it is not proposed to make an initial decision on which of these three areas, if any, will be acquired until June of this year and that a specific decision on whether to go ahead with the project will not be made until 1986? Secondly, in light of the alarm and indignation very naturally expressed at public meetings in the affected areas over the last few days, what immediate steps has the Government taken to alleviate these genuine concerns, especially the lengthy period before any final decision, it is said, is to be made?


Senator GARETH EVANS —Senator Mason has asked me a fascinating series of questions which deserves a much better answer than I am able to give him in the absence of a brief on this matter from the Minister for Defence. I will do my best to give him an answer as soon as possible.