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Friday, 11 October 1985
Page: 1125

(Question No. 530)

Senator Brownhill asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 11 September 1985:

(1) Did the Prime Minister make any statements or promises to people in the Bathurst/Orange region in late 1984 concerning the Government's rejection of their land for defence purposes; if so, what were those statements.

(2) What area in the Orange/Bathurst region is now under consideration for siting of the Army Training Facility.

(3) What percentage of the area originally considered unsuitable is now once again under consideration.

(4) Does this new study for siting the Army Training Facility conflict with statements made by the Prime Minister to landholders in November 1984.

Senator Button —The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) On 28 November 1984 I reaffirmed the rejection by the Government of a proposal to consider, inter alia, an area of 350,000 hectares near Bathurst/Orange as a possible location for a 160,000-hectare Army training facility.

(2) The site in the Bathurst/Orange region now being considered is irregular in shape and comprises approximately 70,000 hectares centred some 25 kilometres northeast of Orange.

(3) The site of approximately 70,000 hectares that is now being considered lies almost entirely within the 350,000 hectares originally proposed for consideration. It amounts to approximately 20 per cent of the 350,000-hectare area. See also the answers to (1) and (4).

(4) No. My remarks on 28 November 1984 related to the proposal, originated by the previous Government, which was based on an Army requirement for 160,000 hectares. That Army requirement was reviewed and roughly halved at the instigation of my Government. The 70,000-hectare site in the Bathurst/Orange region now being considered by the Government is one of three new options which were nominated by the New South Wales State Government in March 1985 and which were based on the revised Army requirement.