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$2 million for environmental impact assessment work.



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Media contacts

Monday, 28 June 2004 120/2004

$2 MILLION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT WORK

Defence has committed more than $2 million to be spent during the next financial year on works that aim to address the environmental impact of the introduction of the Hawk Lead-In Fighter to RAAF Williamtown.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said Defence was progressing the program to meet the 25 conditions announced in October 2003 after defence accepted the Hawk Lead-In Fighter into service. The conditions aim to manage the environmental impacts that were identified during the assessment process.

Senator Hill said some initiatives such as ongoing water quality monitoring have started. Other initiatives such as the Environmental Management System for RAAF Williamtown and Salt Ash Weapons Range are in the final stages of development as well as development of an air quality monitoring plan and noise management plan.

“More than $2 million will be spent next financial year on environmental related works and programs,” Senator Hill said.

“The works planned for the next year include noise monitoring at communities surrounding the range including Salt Ash, Williamtown, Tanilba Bay and Medowie. Noise attenuation works at Salt Ash Public School and increased security at the range are also planned as part of this year’s work.”

“Revised management practices to be implemented will also see improvements in a number of areas ranging from waste management on the range to methods of communicating flying programs and schedules to the community in the Port Stephens area.”

Member for Paterson Bob Baldwin welcomed the funding commitment, particularly the commitment to fund the noise attenuation works at Salt Ash Public School.

He said in addition to the environmental works, Defence has also established the Williamtown Consultative Forum in agreement with the Port Stephens Council.

“The role of the Forum is to assist in the exchange of information to ensure that community concerns are understood and where possible factored into operations of the range,” Mr Baldwin said.

“The Forum will also monitor and report on the implementation of the conditions arising from the Hawk Lead-In Fighter environmental impact assessment.”

Sascha Meldrum (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7800 0409 0934 241

Anna Fitzgerald (Bob Baldwin) 0417 490 821

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au