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Munitions stockpile unearthed in Orchard Hills.

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Senator Mark Bishop Shadow Minister for Defence Industry, Procurement and Personnel

Media Release

1st June 2006


Munitions stockpile unearthed in Orchard Hills

Part of a $212 million stockpile of unusable and potentially dangerous ordnance is being stored at a munitions site in Penrith, Defence officials have revealed.

The stockpile includes Sparrow missiles, Senator Mark Bishop was told at Senate Estimates.

These missiles are “too complicated to be broken up”, so Defence was considering selling them on to “other user nations”, the officials said.

Senator Bishop, Shadow Minister for Defence Industry, Procurement and Personnel was following-up on the Auditor-General’s report into the procurement of explosive ordnance.

That report found Defence has millions of dollars worth of unusable explosives. Furthermore, it does not have sufficient “technical data” to maintain and store this ordnance, although Defence officials assured Senators they have since rectified this.

Other revelations from Defence at the hearings include:

• Much of the unusable ordnance is stocked at Orchard Hills, Penrith - a major population centre west of Sydney • ADI, suppliers of the ordnance, carried out its own inspections at storage sites • Past practices for the disposal of small arms was to simply “blow them up”

Senator Bishop was pursuing a number of issues relating to the auditor-general’s report including scrutiny of pre-payments systems for ordnance and the public financing initiative between Defence and ordnance suppliers ADI.

Media Details: Lydia Roberts 0415 374 983 Parliament House Office (02) 6277 3101