Download the above photograph of the Minister.

Construction has commenced at Holsworthy Barracks for the Base Infrastructure Works Project. The project, which is part of the Base Security Improvement Program, will deliver a range of security infrastructure works at 16 Defence establishments across Australia.

The Base Security Improvement Program was established in late 2009 following a review of Defence’s protective security arrangement and includes a range of projects designed to improve security across Defence bases.

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence David Feeney turned the first sod for the project.

“We are delivering enhanced security at Defence establishments through the implementation of state of the art electronic access control systems that will manage vehicle and pedestrian access. Facilities designed to improve command and control in the event of a serious security incident will be provided. Additional closed circuit television, base wide alert systems and other electronic security systems will be delivered by the project.

“When complete, the works will provide another important layer of security for Defence and its personnel and further demonstrates an ongoing investment in keeping Defence personnel safe,” Mr Feeney said.

Further information:

Angela McCrea, Operations Manager Directorate of Base Projects and Plans, Phone: 02 6266 3576; Mobile 0477 364 007

The Hammerhead Crane will be removed from the Garden Island naval Base in Sydney.

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney said the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities had approved the removal of the crane.

“Removing this crane will eliminate the safety risk it currently poses to Royal Australian Navy personnel, it will allow Navy to use Garden Island to its best possible advantage,” Senator Feeney said.

The conditions of approval require the heritage value components of the crane to be identified and salvaged. An archival record will be made of the crane and its history will be documented in a Heritage Interpretation Plan.

“Garden Island has a rich heritage spanning over 100 years.

“This heritage is carefully maintained by Defence to ensure a balance between the protection of historic heritage values, and maintaining the operational effectiveness of Garden Island in supporting the fleet. The removal of the crane heralds a new era for Garden Island as it becomes home to the Navy’s new large amphibious ships, the first of which is due to arrive in late 2013,” Senator Feeney said.

Defence intends to proceed swiftly to address the conditions of approval. Information will be published on the Defence website as this activity progresses.

The decision to remove the crane comes after a thorough environmental impact assessment which considered heritage impacts and included public consultation.

Built in 1951, the Hammerhead Crane was capable of lifting 250 tonnes at its peak. It has not been used since 1996.


Media contacts:
Senator Feeney’s Office: Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

The construction of facilities for the new Landing Helicopter Dock ships and Air Warfare Destroyers has commenced in Sydney.

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney attended a sod turning ceremony at HMAS Watson today and welcomed the commencement of building works.

“This is the culmination of four years of planning to build new facilities required to raise, train and sustain the Landing Helicopter Dock Ships and Air Warfare Destroyers in their home-port of Sydney.

“The investment of $170.2 million into facilities at HMAS Watson, Garden Island and Randwick Barracks—with the first of the major works commencing at HMAS Watson—will provide berthing infrastructure, permanent maintenance and systems support facilities for the new ships at Garden Island, and training facilities at Randwick Barracks and HMAS Watson,” Senator Feeney said.

Construction commenced at HMAS Watson in July 2013, and will be completed at all sites by late 2015.

HMAS Canberra, the first of the new Landing Helicopter Dock ships, is due for delivery in early 2014, with HMAS Hobart, the first of the new Air Warfare Destroyers, due for delivery in early 2016.


Media contacts:
Senator Feeney’s Office: Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

The final rotation of Australian soldiers has returned home from Solomon Islands, following the completion of the Australian Defence Force’s military contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

About 100 soldiers from Rotation 30, which was predominately made up of Reservists from the Army’s Victoria-based 4th Brigade, were welcomed home today by family and friends at a parade at Simpson Barracks. The soldiers, including a contingent from the Tongan Defence Force, spent four months in Solomon Islands after deploying on Operation ANODE at the end of March 2013.

Welcoming the soldiers home was the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and Senator for Victoria, David Feeney.

“Today is about welcoming our troops back home. They have served our nation well and for their service and sacrifice we are all grateful,” Senator Feeney said.

“Their job was an important one: to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and the Participating Police Force in providing security and stability for the people of Solomon Islands. The withdrawal of our military component of RAMSI shows the improvement in the security environment over the past ten years and our work with our Pacific neighbours have helped bring peace and stability to Solomon Islands.

“Travelling to Solomon Islands only last week with the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, we got to see the security improvements first-hand. Speaking with the troops there it was clear that the ADF is leaving the Solomon Islands in a vastly more stable security environment than existed ten years ago.

“However, this is isn’t the end of RAMSI. Work will continue with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and the nation’s institutions to ensure lasting stability for the people of the Solomon Islands,” Senator Feeney said.

More than 7,000 Australian soldiers have deployed over the past ten years. Of those about 2,100 were Reservists.

The Commander of the Army’s 2nd Division, Major General Steve Smith, AM, CSC, RFD, said he was proud of the soldiers’ efforts during a demanding deployment.

“Throughout your mission, you have embodied the Army’s core values of Courage, Initiative, Respect and Teamwork,” Major General Smith said.

“You have done much to enhance the reputation of the 2nd Division in particular, and the Australian Defence Force more broadly,” he said.

The Commander of the Army’s 4th Brigade, Brigadier Michael Annett, CSC, ADC, said the soldiers’ deployment, along with previous 4th Brigade rotations in 2007 and 2010, had played a significant role in supporting the return to normal life for Solomon Islanders.

“Security in the Solomon Islands and the ability of its government to re-establish law and order and build public confidence has improved markedly since the ADF first arrived to assist in restoring public order,” Brigadier Annett said.

“Soldiers from the 4th Brigade have played an important part in that process, you should be very proud of the part you have played in this operation.”

The Officer Commanding Rotation 30, Captain David Manzin, said his troops could look back on a job well done.

“It is important that we recognise the support of all of our families, and our civilian employers. Without having their backing for the past six months of training and during the deployment we simply could not have done this,” Captain Manzin said.

The Australian Defence Force support to RAMSI ceased on 1 July 2013.

A Defence element has remained in the Solomon Islands to prepare military equipment to return to Australia. The Australian-led Combined Task Force 635 has included rotations of Defence Force personnel from New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.


Media contacts:

Captain Dougie McGuire, Public Affairs Officer, 4th Brigade: 0418 399 780

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

Office of Senator Feeney: Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476

Imagery of the farewell from Honiara:

Imagery from of a recent medals parade in Honiara:

Imagery of Senator Feeney and General Hurley speaking with soldiers in Honiara:

Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney today announced that the Australian Government will remove asbestos from the Jezzine Barracks redevelopment.

“This is great news for the people of Townsville. It means no passing the buck, only a solution to solve this problem,” Senator Feeney said.

“Today the Australian Government has agreed to reimburse costs spent so far on asbestos remediation at the site, as well as to remove the remaining asbestos.”

Reimbursement costs are expected to be about $336,000.

Mayor of Townsville Councillor Jenny Hill said it was good to have the matter resolved.

“I am pleased that the Australian Government has come to the table and helped to resolve this issue for Townsville. Now we have a solution and we can continue to improve the site, not just remediate it,” Councillor Hill said.

The land was originally gifted to the Townsville City Council for community use and heritage protection.

Along with the land, the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust was given $20 million from the Australian Government to develop and remediate the site.

“Now that the asbestos remediation is being funded by the Australian Government, the $20 million can be used for other essential parts of this massive redevelopment,” Senator Feeney said.

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999
Senator Feeney’s office: Dimity Paul 0477 334 324