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Barracks bombshell: Commonwealth to hand over historical landmark to Court Government.

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Special Minister of State Senator for Western Australia


E2/01 *** Embargoed until 9am (WST) 14 January 2001***


Barracks Bombshell - Commonwealth to Hand Over Historical Landmark to Court Government  

One of Western Australia’s oldest and most important pieces of military heritage, the Fremantle Artillery Barracks, will remain in public hands thanks to a transfer deal announced today between the Howard and Court Governments.

Speaking at an event to mark the transfer announcement, Special Minister of State and Senator for Western Australia, Chris Ellison, welcomed the decision by the Commonwealth Government to make the transfer.

"The Commonwealth’s decision to transfer the site to the State Government is great news for the people of Western Australia," Senator Ellison said.

Senator Ellison said that retaining the site in public hands should be welcomed by all sectors of the community.

Senator Ellison, who had been consulting with various interested parties in an effort to find a resolution to the matter, said that transfer of the Barracks to the Court Government had been made possible "following a good deal of representation and negotiation by all levels of Government and the community."

"The transfer had been canvassed some time ago by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Senator Eric Abetz, whose cooperation in this matter had been instrumental in the positive outcome," Senator Ellison said.

Detailed arrangements regarding the transfer are yet to be completed, but any proposals for the future use of the site would be a matter for the Western Australian Government. Senator Ellison said he was confident that the Western Australian Government would recognise the significant heritage aspects of the site and the needs of the wider community.

"The Fremantle Artillery Barracks holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many Western

Australian families and the transfer is a timely reminder in the year of the Centenary of Federation of the state’s significant military history," Senator Ellison said.

The Fremantle Artillery Barracks has played a vital role in the military history of Australia. Built between 1908 and 1913, the Barracks were a frontline coastal defence, a staging point for World War One troops and later, a military hospital for returning servicemen. In all, there has been some 90 years of continuous military service on the Barrack’s site."

The Barracks have been recognised at the National ( Register of the National Estate in 1982 ) and State level (Heritage Council of Western Australia Register of Heritage Places in 1997 ) for their significant cultural and heritage values, as well as for their distinctive architectural heritage.

Media Alert - The transfer will be announced by Senator Ellison, in conjunction with the Hon Richard Court, Premier Western Australia, on Sunday, 14 January 2000 at 9am at the Fremantle Artillery Barracks.

Media Inquiries:  Nicole Johnston 0419 217 918