Australia – Options for RAAF Darwin being investigated

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon said he’s actively investigating options for the future use of Housing at RAAF Base Darwin.
Defence completed a strategic review on all of their property in Darwin in 2009, which concluded that there is a continuing strategic need to retain the housing land at RAAF Base Darwin to accommodate future Defence capability and contingency needs.

Mr Snowdon has asked Defence to review the land use requirements for RAAF Base Darwin again, with a report due back in early 2011. “The Government has a clear process by which we will methodically work through the question of how we balance Defence’s strategic needs for RAAF Base Darwin and the housing pressures facing the Darwin community.”

“This review will allow the Government to make a judgement about how to proceed. It will allow us to look at how we can best use that land.

“If its available for us to redevelop the land for residential purpose, we will look at that possibility, but we don’t just want a short term fix.

“We are already talking the Northern Territory Government about if we can relocate some of the houses at RAAF Base Darwin and make them available to the public.

“In the meantime, we have asked Defence Housing Australia to ensure that where vacant houses are safe for Defence personnel to occupy, or can be improved in a cost effective way, personnel and their families will have the choice to move into the houses at RAAF Base Darwin,” Mr Snowdon said.

“The approach of this Government to Defence housing in Darwin is one that is methodical, considered and responsible. We make decisions based on evidence – not slogans,” he said.

Defence’s priority is to provide houses for Defence force personnel and their families, and the organisation that’s responsible for this is Defence Housing Australia (DHA).

DHA and Defence work hard to ensure there is appropriate accommodation established and available to the approximately 7,000 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel working in the Territory. DHA currently manages approximately 2,500 houses in the Territory to support ADF families.

Mr Snowdon said Defence Housing Australia has a clear plan to build new houses for Defence families, and gradually reduce the availability of on-base housing and pressure on the Darwin housing market.

This includes:
o The development of the Darwin suburb of Muirhead, which includes approximately 330 houses for Defence families when complete, in addition to over 750 residential lots for the general public – of which up to 15% will be offered to the NT Government for affordable housing.
o Making 59 houses available for the Darwin community from Larrakeyah Barracks
o 185 new homes to be built in Darwin at a cost of $74.4 million under the Australian Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus program

Mr Snowdon said Defence has a strong presence in the Northern Territory. With a number of major bases it’s a significant contributor to the NT economy, with more $670 million contributed in the last financial year.

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia

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