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Solomon let down

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Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

23 June 2011 00/10 MEDIA RELEASE


While the government has been busy planning and constructing hundreds of new houses for Defence personnel and their families in Darwin, the Member for Solomon has been planning political stunts and recycling bad election policies.

Today the Federal Parliament voted on a misguided motion by the Member for Solomon to excise the land of RAAF Base Darwin.

“This motion would not only take away land dedicated to housing Defence personnel, it would also remove a key strategic Defence asset from the Defence Forces.

“The land is used as an operational base and is required for Defence purposes. “The importance of this land was yesterday re-enforced with the announcement that a Force Posture Review would be conducted by the Australian Government to assess whether the ADF is positioned to meet Australia’s modern and future strategic and security challenges.

“To ensure we’re making the best use of RAAF Darwin land for housing purposes, I’ve have asked Defence to explore the opportunities for housing defence personnel on an 8.7 hectare site of RAAF Darwin currently used for housing,” Mr Snowdon said.

The housing on this land will continue to be made available to ADF members until the second half of this decade. Houses which become redundant to ADF use will be available, where possible, to the community for relocation and re-use in the same way as the houses at Larrakeyah Barracks have been.

Mr Snowdon said it is not appropriate to have public housing on an active operation base such as RAAF Base Darwin, as suggested by the Member for Solomon.

“I understand the Darwin Housing market is under stress, but Defence’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build Defence Housing on bases and around Darwin.”

Mr Snowdon said the member for Solomon has failed to voice her support for the housing being provided to ADF members and their families.

“The Member for Solomon is yet to recognise that the investments in housing made by the Gillard Government will not only provide first class accommodation for ADF members, but will also provide jobs and business opportunities for Territorians.

“This month Defence has announced a $280m project for construction for 900 apartments for Larrakeyah and Robertson Barracks, and is in the process of building 97 new four bedroom homes at Larrakeyah Barracks in a $63.8m project.”

“Defence Housing projects like these will mean more ADF personnel are catered for - and more residential housing will be freed up for the public,” Mr Snowdon said.

“The motion in the House of Representatives today was a stunt - my focus as Minister is delivering high-quality housing for Defence personnel in Darwin, while also reducing the impact of Defence activities on the wider Darwin housing market,” he said.

Media contact: Alice Plate 0400 045 999